Tuesday, July 29, 2008

White wall, vacant lot

C'dalephiles like it when I write about the former Capitol of Southern Illinois, but it's too much of a downer for me lately, with all the old familiar buildings and businesses going down and out, and few new ones springing up. ... No. I take it back. There are some hopeful signs, such as "We're making way for Progress" (on the Varsity Theater building) and "Please don't mar or deface these office walls" (pictured here) which somehow has gone undefaced in 30-40 years! The quoted phrase appears to have magical properties.

Why doesn't the City do something with the vacant lot adjacent to this wall (where American Tap used to be)? That would be a good topic for the Carbondale Bytelife blog. (Maybe Scott will pick this up and walk with it. ...down the alley to City Hall.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

C'dale Greyhound move completed

The Greyhound bus stop and ticket station are together again ... at last! After 3 years on Washington St., where it wasn't wanted, 'cause it would bring down the neighborhood. ... But BP-land at 905 E. Main St. is pro-Hound to-the-Max. ... Arif, the friendly Pakistani, is thrilled to have the bus passengers alight and buy some snax and drinks and cigarettes.

I had a lot of help getting the job done ... not much from my district manager, but Junior Bear and friends came through at crunch time. The same sign JB hung above the address at 215 N. Washington is now atop two posts driven deep into the grass in front of the station -- at the distance prescribed by city code. (Thanks to Steve for coming out to the site, and fast-tracking the permit process.)

I haven't checked to see if any of the newspapers mentioned it... Sent out copies of the flyer to the papers (in lieu of press release). Planning to have an Open House, ribbon-cutting, with some bus-minded friends and business associates when I get back from Portland in August.

Meanwhile, the drivers liked the map I sent to Nashville and St. Louis (from whence all buses to C'dale depart), and they are pleased to have a place where passengers can use the rest rooms and buy refreshments ... It really is a better location, even though it's costing me more time and money, as I knew it would (which is why I dragged my paws in making the leap.)

Been operating without internet, due to a lengthy verification process between Verizon and ShawneeLink. ... Alternative solutions (using the Blackberry as a tethered wireless modem) has failed so far to do the trick ... Looks like a dialup connection is the only viable option. NetZero has a 4.97 per month deal, which should get me through another week without DSL.

Now I've got to hire and train someone pronto, 'cause in two weeks I will be in Oregon -- holding my grandson in my arms for the first time. ... One of the desk clerks at the motel where the Amtrak crew crashes every night (so to speak) is interested. How about you, Bloggee? If you're available from 9:30-11am, or 3:30-5pm, you could get paid $10 per hr printing bus tickets and helping bustomers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hot time at the Sunset Concert

Last night's Turley Park Sunset Concert by blogger Brian Wright and the Waco Tragedies was hot! From pre-concert pizza at Mississippi Flyway (5 ingredients, 14 inch, lotsa cheese, $12.95) to the final song(?) "Glory Hallelujah", (see the band perform this song on AOL UnCut video.) ... During the band's intermission, a guy performed with with flaming wands and spitting fire. (Snapped some photos of his act -- as well as the police response right after.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wine and Art Fair fares well

Like Bytelife's Scott and Becky for The Southern, I attended the Town Square Wine and Art Fair Friday night ... impressed with all the people in the crowd, some of whom I got to speak with, like new Carbondale City Manager, Allen Gill, who's not a tee-totaller, and event organizer Main Street director Megan Cole, pictured here, proud of the crowd behind her.

I managed to get off a few tweets with the Blackberry, including one about Councilman Lance Jack's off-the-record slip about his latest business venture. (Sorry, Bloggee, to read you'll have to go to my twitter page. ;-))

Gill agreed the City needs to improve its dissemination of public information, and smiled when I said I wasn't trying to create a job for myself, although "City Twitterer" has a nice ring.

I figured out a way to get the most from the $5 admittance, which got you a plastic glass with Fusion (local bar) sticker on it, and samples of wine from ten different local vintners. But the samples were so minute and variable that it took too long to get a nice wine buzz, so I purchased a full glass of Chancellor red, but for the next glass, I went to each purveyor and had them each add a 'wee dram' of their own brand of dry red wine into the glass. The resulting glass is pictured here, and it tasted fine. Will definitely do it again with a chardonnay at the Fall event.

That's right. Everyone's talking 'bout a Fall Wine and Art Fair... Personally, I'd like to have it every month! Wine not? Either way, I'm sure the organizers will find ways to improve the event. Let's hope the Ivas John Band is invited for a return engagement. Ivas just gets better and better. Blues you can use -- to dance to -- and I did.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Partying at True Value

After a grueling day at work yesterday, I hooked up with one of my Amtrak friends to attend the Chamber of Commerce 'Business After Hours' schmooze-fest in honor of C'dale's new City Manager, Allen Gill, who has been on the job for a couple of weeks (although I can find no mention of him in the City website).

Who would have thought socializing amidst appliances and lawn furniture could be so much fun? Fueled by a catered spread, and a glass or two of Chateau Red from Von Jakob Vineyard, -- and the company of Conductor Dave, and Valerie Rasp, of Keep Carbondale Beautiful, and Good Samaritan House director Susan Metcalf, I haven't had a more enjoyable social hour this year. (Rescuing a fly from Valerie's wine was a highlight. I shoulda shot some video of its recovery process) Also flying by our table, Chamber director Meredith Rhoades, and Murdale True Value owner George Sheffer.

Sheffer is the man behind the huge "Saluki Pride" Dawg Paw Prints on the streets and highways leading into town . . . and he outlined for Valerie all the steps that had to be negotiated with the City and State authorities to accomplish that feat. (Early this coming Sunday morning the Saluki Pridesters will be out on Grand Ave. laying down some fresh Paw paint. ... Since I will already be up-and-about at that time, some photos may be coming your way next week, Bloggee.)

Many other business and community leaders lined up to meet Mr. Gill, including fellow blogger and businessman Scott Thorne, who may well have his own take on the event.

Now playing: Stacy Mitchhart - Got to Get the Feeling Back Again
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Moving news

Here's some moving news: The Greyhound agency (ticket office and bus stop) will be consolidated at one location: 905 E. Main St. effective July 21, 2008. ... That's the plan, if Verizon gets the phones installed by then. ... The move will be a boon for the BP Station, which will be getting more customers eacg day ... It also will improve the passengers, who no longer will have to obtain tickets blocks away from where the bus stops, or stand outside the Amtrak station at night ... For me, it will mean a longer trip to work, and longer hours, ugh. ... More money for rent, as well. So why do it? Because it is the better business thing to do ... I can only hope the extra time and expense pay$ off.

(Anybody know why the $ symbol is used for dollars? A dollar to the first commenter to answer.)

Money's on my mind these days. My economic stimulus check went directly to United Airlines for tickets to Portland, Oregon. ... I sure hope the big bus move is all hunky-dory by the end August, when I'm among the blackberries in the great Northwest. But my own Blackberry will make it possible to keep in touch -- literally -- with a mild buzz on my left hip whenever Scott Thorne posts to Bytelife, or someone tweets from Twitterland.

Twitter has definitely opened new windows of interest and opportunity, such as FoxyTunes, "cloud computing" (Web 2.0) and Seesmic video blogging. Way more 'cutting edge' than blogging (sorry, Bloggee).

And the Blackberry has been awesome ... I don't know how I've done without one all these years. It may not be as slick and pretty as the iPhone, but it gets the job done for $90 per month. And because I use the phone so much for The 'Hound, it's deductible!

Right now I'm listening to the my favorite community radio station, WDBX (stream) which will be a good place to advertise the big move. I'll try to squeeze some money out of corporate for Brian and the gang at 224 N. Washington, across the street from the current bus ticket office.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Blues & Blackberry at Key West

Some friends and I went to Key West on E. Main St. last night to catch The Ivas John Band, which has all new personnel, except for The Big I, who continues to rule the roost as the best front man in all The 'Dale. (Don't believe me? Check out the band at next Friday's "Wine and Art Fair" at Town Square.)

Also saw some old friends in the crowd: Dancin' Corrina Lang (tomato fertility goddess), Radio wunderkind Will Stephens, and Solar seller, Aur Beck, to name a few. I had fun text messaging those guys ... "Ivas sounds great tonight!" and watching them look around to see who the message came from.... Even managed to get off a "tweet" for the occasion.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

John McTrain

Here it is ... my entry into the Colbert Nation's Green Screen Challenge to make John McCain Interesting. The background shows a train passing Carbondale's Town Square. (Those who follow my Twitter updates knew about this video yesterday. ... Blogging is so passe. ;-) )