Tag Archives: Illinois

On the road (I-74)

Sunday 27th August 2017, 11.25am (day 2,194)

I-74, 27/8/17

I am sure that by all possible definitions, this photograph is very boring. But then again, so is being driven on an Interstate (I-74) through the US corn belt. Taken while we were still just about in Illinois — but the last few days of my stay here will be spent in Indiana.

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Jazzmen

Saturday 26th August 2017, 4.10pm (day 2,193)

Jazzmen, 26/8/17

Happy birthday to me — fortysomething again. I’m sure if you have been following this blog long enough you know the exact figure. With me being on my own in Urbana this week it was never going to be the most sociable anniversary but I did my best back at the Sweetcorn Festival’s second day. The New Orleans jazz band were the best feature. Another talent I wish I had — I seem to recall some forty years ago playing the clarinet in the school orchestra and so maybe I should reword that, ‘another talent I regret losing’. Still, perhaps I’ve picked up others along the way. Onward, onward with my 49th year on the planet. Whoops, there you go — I gave it away.

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The owner of the ‘Iron Post’

Friday 25th August 2017, 10.20pm (day 2,192)

Iron Post, 25/8/17

The Iron Post is a pub in Urbana. Many years ago — well, twelve anyway (in 2005) — this place saved our bacon on the 4th July when it was the only pub in the city that was open for food and drink. I also remember being here in 2006 and talking to this guy — he had a beard then — on the day that the state of Illinois passed the ordinance which forbade smoking inside any public building. It’s safe to say he wasn’t happy. He won’t remember me, but when I returned this evening for a beer and saw him sat in the far corner of the bar doing his books, or whatever it is, I recognised him.

And so ends the sixth full year of this blog. I set out to do one — I’ve done six. I may as well keep going, there are still things in the world worth depicting. Are you sticking with me? Good, let’s do some more.

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In Urbana

Thursday 24th August 2017, 5.00pm (day 2,191)

Urbana house, 24/8/17

I said yesterday that Champaign-Urbana was not much to write home about, but the ‘Historic District’ of Urbana (in the US, this means anywhere with buildings over about a century old) is an exception. The housing in those few square blocks is amazing. When I was here a dozen years ago I did get the chance to go in one of these, and they are just as impressive inside as out, even if they do have cellars that one imagines could be used for the final scenes of The Silence of the Lambs.

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The University of Illinois

Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 10.30am (day 2,190)

U of I, 23/8/17

Had I been doing this blog back in 2005 and 2006 you would have seen a whole bunch of photos of this place. I came at that time for a research trip, and incidentally on 5th July 2005 featured on the sports page of the local daily newspaper (this is true, and I can prove it…). I enjoyed it enough to feel that it was worth coming back for these few days between seeing the eclipse and going to do the work I have actually come to the US to do, which starts on Monday. As with many US university campuses — it’s an impressive place, a real monumental seat of learning. This building is the Foellinger Auditorium, viewed with a zoom down the length of the Main Quad.

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PK’s bar, Carbondale

Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 3.20pm (day 2,189)

PK's bar, 22/8/17

This bar stands across the road from Carbondale’s Amtrak station and was therefore a suitable place to wait for my train back north. It seemed to be the kind of place where most of the clientele probably never went anywhere else — so I kind of liked it. PK’s stands for Pizza King, by the way — the matriarch who ran the place explained to me that they started out being the first people in Carbondale to open a pizza parlour, but when everyone else started doing it, they decided to turn it into a bar instead. Which must have been a good move, because apparently that shift took place fifty years ago.

Carbondale also gains for itself the distinction of being the 200th different identifiable location to appear on this blog. Thus, about every 11th shot on here is taken somewhere different, which is a decent amount of variety, I guess.

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Journey’s end

Monday 21st August 2017, 1.25pm (day 2,188)

Eclipse, 21/8/17

It’s not quite 3pm here but considering this is what I came several thousand miles to see: I think we’re done with photography for the day, don’t you?

It was back in May 2013 that I saw the annular eclipse in north Queensland, and interesting as that was, it does not really approach the awesome nature of totality; the beauty of the corona and the ‘Baily’s beads’, light shining through valleys on the Moon’s edge, which I just about manage to capture here. And as I said about the Australian one — do you realise we might be one of the few planets in the whole universe to be able to see something like this, thanks to the coincidence that the Moon and Sun are the same apparent size in the sky? Lucky us. If you ever get the chance to see one — my advice is, take it.

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