Thursday, September 25, 2008

Empty buses

Posted by Craig on 9/25/2008 0 comments
Classes are going well. I have an internship now, just started this week - with the Chi-Town Daily News, an online-only newspaper. Check out the site now and then to see what I'm up to.

After record rainfall not too long ago - documented in one of my previous blogs(!) - we've had nothing but sun all of this week. It's been nice, but I'm starting to wonder what's up with that! Seriously, I like rain now and then...and precipitation in general. I'm looking forward to the snow, actually - winter's my favorite season.

Other than that, something has just been bothering me for a few days now. Empty buses. The Chicago Transit Authority does a great job of running public transportation in this city, but so often at night, I see buses and El trains go by that are completely and totally empty! Now these just keep operating, all the time, going to their stops, etc.

I know it's a big city and a big city never sleeps, and you never know when someone might get stranded somewhere (heck, I might someday - I sure hope not though), so you need to keep the public transportation running, but WHAT A WASTE OF FUEL/MONEY having these empty buses/trains going all over town when no one's riding them.

And more than that, it just looks really eerie. Seeing that vacant bus go by is just an odd sight; buses are SUPPOSED to have people on them! And at some points of rush hour here in Chi-Town, it's standing room only, which I've experienced. So empty buses/trains is just really, really awkward, and they stand out like a sore eye.

Weird rant, I know. It's just been on my mind. Such is life in a big city. I like living here in some ways, but let me be clear - I miss the peace and quiet of the suburbs!! You guys reading this back home in WNY - consider yourself fortunate to live in such a peaceful environment!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fire drills in the sixth hour of the morning

Posted by Craig on 9/19/2008 0 comments
Never a fun thing.

Wailing sirens, flashing lights, and that obnoxious alarm clock-like noise, there's little to be happy about when the fire alarm sounds in the middle of the night.

I experienced this at Fisher before and now I've experienced it in Chicago. Our building was evacuated shortly after 6 this morning. I journeyed down what seemed like endless flights of stairs without any contacts in and the first clothes I could find on my body. I forgot a jacket along the way and it was rather chilly out, I soon learned.

We couldn't re-enter the building until it had been completely evacuated, and when all was said and done, it was a good 30 minutes to an hour before we were able to go back up to our rooms.

I tried to find the positives of this event. Hopefully there won't be another for some time?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Off and running with classes

Posted by Craig on 9/16/2008 0 comments
Oftentimes, the first class generates the most anxiety. It's that whole not-knowing-what-to-expect deal. What will the professor be like? How about the other students? Will it be a large class or small one? And so on. Especially when you start at a new school!

That's why I had plenty of butterflies and jitters going into my first graduate school class last Thursday, and plenty more going into my second ever class tonight (my first for that particular course).

That part is now done with. I can breathe a sigh of relief!

I've seen the syllabi, I got to know the professors' teaching styles a bit, I got to meet my classmates for the first time, and most importantly I now have a pretty good idea of the expectations.

To be quite frank, the bar is raised pretty high. It will be a challenge to clear, for both classes. I can already see some differences between undergrad and graduate classes. If the shift from high school to college meant "you were on your own," then the shift from college to graduate school is that same phrase times 100. Nobody holds your hand, not even for a second. There's no orientation. You don't know anybody. Your just plunged into things and it's what you make of it. I'm determined to make my grad school experience a positive one and to work my hardest, just as I always have.

In some ways though, these classes aren't much unlike the upper-level classes at Fisher, and I see the similarities too. I think I know what to expect now and I'm ready to go at it. It's good to be back at school, back learning again - I do love learning. I feel 100% that I've made the right choice. And I'm now ready for the second classes and beyond.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Buckets of rain

Posted by Craig on 9/13/2008 0 comments
Rain, rain, and more rain. That's been the theme of the last 24-36 hours and it's going to be the theme of the next 24-36 hours too.

Here's the look outside my bedroom window just moments ago:

We had an especially bad storm last night, about 4 a.m. or so. It was just absolutely pouring - in buckets - and it was windy too. Woke me up during the night, but actually I found it kind of refreshing. I like rain. Fortunately, I didn't have my window open (some nights I do here), but it was still real easy to hear the storm outside. No thunder. Just rain.

As for the latest with me -- I had my first class Thursday and it went really well. Yesterday I relaxed most of the day. I taught my roommate from Syria how to play Yahtzee and played that for a bit. Today I went to the Chicago Public Library and got a library card, so if I ever need any books or anything I can head over there now. Later today, in about a half hour actually, I'm going to head up to the North Side to visit a friend from St. John Fisher, Jackie, who graduated with me. She's also going to school in Chicago, but not DePaul. I'll spend an hour or so up there, then I'll be back at my place. Maybe some homework tonight, Bills tomorrow at Jacksonville.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The El

Posted by Craig on 9/10/2008 0 comments
I took the 10-15 minute ride north to DePaul's main campus (Lincoln Park) this afternoon. Made the trip by subway and returned by "the El," which is the elevated train here in Chicago. (For those familiar with CTA, I took the Red Line there and came back on the Brown Line!)

I had to pick up my Student Pass for Chicago public transportation. This pass is good for unlimited rides on all CTA trains, subways, buses, etc. for the quarter, so it'll definitely come in handy.

Not sure the next time I'll make it up to Lincoln Park. Everything I need is around my own neighborhood here in the South Loop (food, housing, classes, plenty of stores, etc.). So I thought I'd document this excursion by taking a pic of The El. This was taken on Fullerton Ave., right in the heart of Lincoln Park and the DePaul campus. And there's the El, the elevated train in the background.

That's about all for now. Classes start tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

View from my apartment/first pizza

Posted by Craig on 9/09/2008 0 comments
The view from my apartment during the day (that's Sears Tower):

And here's a pic of my first Chicago pizza - from Yak-Zie's in Wrigleyville, right around the corner from Wrigley Field. A thin crust pie with a special parsley crust, it was excellent! I'd also highly recommend Yak-Zie's Buffalo wings.

Some of the latest... Yesterday was an eventful day. Nicole and I got $5 day passes for the train/subway and journeyed across the city. We ventured to Wrigleyville, saw the Cubs stadium, and got pizza/wings from the place I mentioned earlier. We went to Lincoln Park together and took a stroll around DePaul. And then we went to Navy Pier - in pouring rain no less - got soaked but got to see the lakefront, and we saw The Dark Knight in Imax. That was filmed in Chicago, btw...I didn't even know that til I got here. So that was really cool.

Earlier today I took Nicole to O'Hare and now I'm back at my place. Tomorrow I'll be getting some last things set for school and what not, then class starts Thursday. More later.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Exploring the city

Posted by Craig on 9/07/2008 2 comments
Today was a day spent exploring downtown with Nicole. Tomorrow we're getting Daylong Train Passes and we're checking out the outlying neighborhoods, including Wrigleyville, home of the Cubs.

Being this is only my second trip ever to the city, and I just got here yesterday, the majority of the stuff we saw, I've never seen before. One thing I realized is there's a TON of nature around here, and I really like that. A big contrast to NYC. Many of the city streets downtown are lined with trees, bushes, fountains, all sorts of things - they definitely understand the concept of landscaping here. And it's done wonderfully. There's also a ton of parks along Lake Michigan, and we checked those out - from Grant Park to Millennium Park and several smaller ones.

We saw the Chicago Tribune building and we saw the building that Barack Obama calls home...233 North Michigan Ave. Here's some pictures from our excursion today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I'm here..

Posted by Craig on 9/06/2008 2 comments
..but I'm so tired, I'll probably fall asleep typing.

Last night, my parents, my sister, my girlfriend, and I (practically) sacrificed a night's sleep to drive from Buffalo to Chicago. We drove through the night --- from 12:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. (9 a.m. in Chicago after the time difference).

There were few Zzz's during the drive. Honestly, how do you sleep in a van? It's downright tough, we all discovered. My dad drove the first leg of the trip and I drove the second - from 3:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. (Cleveland to Indiana border). My mom then drove the rest of the way. I got approximately two hours of sleep, while my mom was driving. That's it.

It's going on 11 p.m. here and I'm soo tired. I pretty much ran all of today on body had like nothing left in the tank. And there's not much more to say right now, other than I'm moved in, my parents are a few blocks down at a hotel and start back to Buffalo about 5 a.m. to make it home tomorrow at a decent time, and the NFL season starts tomorrow (finally). So I'm going to bed! Good night!

Sears Tower from my bedroom window, about 10 minutes ago

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