31 January 2011

Snowprah has her own channel

So this is supposedly one of the storms of all snow storms headed our way over the next two days.
Usually I make fun of the weather personalities in our town but when I want the real schizznit, I only follow ONE man, Tommy Skilling of WGN.
He's saying 14-18 inches for most of the area (2-4 tonight, 12-14 tomorrow night) with an additional 6 for SE side of Chicago and NW Indiana.  He's not just a pretty make-up job waving a sexy body in front of the screen, NO, he's the real deal weatherman folks.  Nevermind that his brother was one of the big guys taken down in the Enron scandal, this one has kept his nose clean and is truly dedicated to his craft!

Fear not, I'm prepared for this, just like I am for any mega snow storm.  I saw that they've posted the top 5 snowfalls of all time in Chicago.  I've been alive for 3 of them:
  1. 23.0" - Jan 26-27, 1967 (I have pix of me in a child carrier on top of a huge snowpile, I was almost 7 months old
  2. 21.6 - Jan 1-3, 1999 (yeah, after a hearty new year's day drunken debauchery, I remember running down the middle of Broadway in Chicago with no cars anywhere to be found and falling on my back and doing snow angels, I think in front of Ann Sather's)
  3. 19.2 - Mar 25-26, 1930 (hell, even before my Dad was born)
  4. 18.8 - Jan 13-14, 1979 (the one that cost Michael Bilandic the Mayoral race in Chicago, enter Jane Byrne)
  5. 16.2 - Mar 7-8, 1931 (wow March in the '30s was brutal, must have been global warming!!!)
So we'll have to see where this one falls, literally.  Some weather personalities are claiming upwards of two feet, yerrright.

I think the thing that'll be worse about this one is the massive winds that are supposed to accompany it.  As I arrived home this evening, they were howling at around 20-25 mph and they are only supposed to get worse.  That could make the drifting as high as 2.5-3.0 feet, even with only 14-16 inches, so we'll see.

28 January 2011

India continues to take shape

Well, I go for round two of the shots today.

Not too thrilled about that, however I am encouraged that it took less than a week for the Indian Consulate here in Chicago to process my Visa and get it back to me.
I've also finally chosen a hotel for my 2.5 day side excursion to New Delhi as well as booked my train tickets to and from Agra so that I can go see the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort.

I didn't skimp on the hotel and am staying at the InterContinental at Nehru Place (jackets not required ;-p)

I will truly get to experience the two extremes of India train travel.  Going, I'm traveling in one of the top classes (AC Executive Chair Class) but my return is in Sleeper Class.  The difference in class of travel is staggering considering the price for each; $18 versus $3.80 and it promises to be very interesting.

3 hours each way so that will give me plenty of time to take it all in.  I had to book the lower class return (gets back at 5:20pm) otherwise I wouldn't get back to Delhi until 9:15pm only to have to head directly to the Airport for my flight home (Leaves at 1:20 am).  God forbid there was any delay on the train, I'd be fighting for my way home and based on a few sources I've chatted with, Indian trains aren't necessarily known for their timeliness.

Exteriors
Interiors

They look the same from the outside, but ohhhh what a difference inside.  Maybe it's good I'm getting the shots :-)  But I will have my trusty backpack in tow, carrying the essentials.  Sadly it's not the one I used for my extensive Europe trips as that one finally died a miserable death.

It's amazing that once I look at my agenda, I've realized how little time I truly have in India outside of the work schedule but I am going to squeeze every ounce/gram out of the free time I have.

Still have to figure out what I want to do on the Friday in New Delhi as well as the Monday in Hyderabad but I have time for that as there's no train travel or anything that I have to worry about.

20 January 2011

A 3 year old's mind

So last night when I was putting Aidan to bed, I had another interesting exchange with him.

Prior to bedtime he was particularly naughty.  I won't go into details but let's just say that instead of staying up for another 45 minutes it was straight to bed time.

There were lots of tears and not wanting Daddy to put him to bed, but once we got settled down and I started to read it got interesting.

One of the books I was reading to him was based off of The Incredibles movie which is one that we have not seen.  Bob, the Dad, at one point blew off someone named Buddy.  Years later Buddy turned into an evil genius named Syndrome and tried to exact his revenge against Bob and his family.
Bob
Buddy
Syndrome
Aidan repeated to me that Buddy was a child when the initial incident happened and that now that he had "grown up" he turned into a "bad guy".
  • He asked me if "Buddy had been bad to his Mommy and Daddy".
  • I said "yes".
  • He then asked me if "Buddy had been bad to his doggie too".
  • I said "yes"
  • He immediately projected Buddy onto himself and his evening's actions.
  • He then told me that he didn't want to be like Buddy and that he wanted to grow up to be a good superhero.  (remember, we're in this massive Batman/Spiderman phase right now)
  • I told him that "that is a great idea" and that "we want you to grow up and be a good superhero too"
He then let me finish the book.

It's good to see that he's recognizing his bad behaviors and then wants to make amends for what he's done.

Who knows, maybe someday  WILL be a good superhero.  We can only allow him to keep living his dreams.

India plans progressing

So yesterday my process of getting all plans sorted for my trip to India continued.

Airlines are now booked.  I'm flying business class Air India from O'Hare to Delhi to Hyderabad.  We don't have to get off the plane in Delhi which makes this an 18 hour trip.
Hotel is the Taj Krishna Hyderabad and the only pictures I can really find of the place all are taken from the pool area so here you go.
It looks like a huge hotel and it's only about 4 miles from the airport which is good since we get in around 8:00pm and then will have to negotiate customs, etc.

On the way back though, I'm going to stop in Delhi and spend two days sightseeing based out of there.  To get from Hyderabad to Delhi I'm flying on Kingfisher Airlines.


Now, I know they make a pretty decent beer as I've had it COUNTLESS times at all my favorite Indian restaurants, but I wonder what kind of airline they are?  Well, based on the pictures of the owner who looks like a cross between Richard Branson and, well, the kinda guys you find in big-time dance clubs in NYC, I'm thinking it's gonna be a pretty rockin' two-hour flight.


Yeah baby, let's party!

I have my first trip to the doctor on Friday to determine which sets of shots I'm going to need and scheduling when I'm supposed to get them. I also have to book my hotel in Delhi at some point as well. Anyone have any suggestions?

Countdown has begun and it's now only 37 days until I leave.  Stay tuned!

18 January 2011

The Chicago Way

Well, if you haven't heard there's gonna be a little football game that people won't pay much attention to on Sunday here in Chicago.  Yerrrrrrrrright.





Of course, the rhetoric between the two fan bases is at an all-time high and frankly, for the NFL, and sorry to the folks in New York and Pittsburgh, this IS the match-up of the post-season that likely will overshadow the final game two weeks later.

The Chicago Staley Bears are a three point dog to the Green Bay ACME Packers.  They've met 179 times in the regular season (91-83-5 Bears) but only ONCE in the playoffs (Bears 33-14).  The last time that happened was December 14th, 1941, just seven days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

These two organizations represent 18% of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees (47 out of 260) and the names out of this rivalry are those that are the bedrock of Professional Football in America.

Halas, Lambeau, Lombardi, Grange, Hutson, Luckman, Ditka, Nitschke, Hornung, Butkus, Nagurski, Starr, Blanda, McGee, Sayers, Lofton, Payton, Singletary, Reggie White, McMahon, and that number 4 fella who has a problem with his mobile phone.  Hell most of these guys have football awards that are given annually named after them especially Halas and Lombardi.




To be honest, it's been rare the number of years where both teams actually were really good.  Normally, when one team is good the other stinks it up.  In fact only 13 times over 90 years have they finished either tied or within 1 win of each other and with .500+ records.  Only 4 of those times, both teams were in the playoffs (1941, 1994, 2001, 2010) and as mentioned, only once did they meet.

So yes, we should relish this upcoming battle for what it is, a very rare and special event that will allow one side bragging rights for a long, long time.  The prize, a trip to Dallas to see Jerry Jones' small wiener compensating edifice.  Death to any telemarketer who calls a home in Wisconsin or Illinois on Sunday afternoon. 

I won't get into the east coast biases of the major sports networks but at least this game gets the proper coverage it should have, up against no other NFL game.  Let the world stop and watch the greatest and oldest rivalry in American Football.  I've already had messages from friends in England, Germany and Australia letting me know that they can't wait to see it.

In closing, just remember.... It's the Chicago Way!

13 January 2011

You are your Father's Son

I'm sure many men have heard this as a phrase that basically says "you've grown up to be just like your Dad", which, depending on the family dynamic and your own situations could be a good thing or a bad thing.

As objectively as I can be, I can say that when it comes to passion for work, passion for family and core values, I did grow up to be my "Father's Son".

Where I didn't was in the fact that I don't want to get out of bed on EVERY given morning, I'm a technology geek (which is mostly just generational), I'm relatively A-D-D, my music tastes are radically different, and our political views are quite divergent.  Maybe those last two are related ;-p

But that's where the pay-it-forward generational fun happens.
  • Aidan has quickly adopted the "mornings suck" attitude that his Daddy has embraced since, well, as long as I can freaking remember.
  • He also has his candy addiction "jones" on very early in life, probably earlier than I did but then again, it's MY addiction he's carrying on so access to it is much easier than it was for me as a child.
  • He already loves his technology.  Not only did he know how to swipe his finger on an iPod Touch just shy of two years old to flip through pictures, for Christmas he got his very own first digital camera.  Below are two pictures that he took along with a picture of the camera.  He can frame it well, but he's still moving his hands quite a bit so most of the pictures are Dali-esque.





Blurry Daddy or Daddy's normal look circa 1985
Extreme close-up of Wrigley



So I think we all know this happens but being more aware of it at this point keeps me on my toes.  Some of his mannerisms are very much like mine and he cracks us up with his "overacting" at time when he's trying to make a point.

I love him to bits.

Here's a shot from December of the three generations of LoCicero men.  Damn we're smokin' hot! ;-)

12 January 2011

I put Hyderabad into my GPS...

...and my cyber-bitch said "I can only take you to the airport, the rest is on your own".
So at the end of February/beginning of March I will be taking a business trip to Hyderabad, India.  We have some fairly large operations there and our parent company is sponsoring an Operations Conference.

When I first heard, of course, my thoughts go to being away from my family and being really FAR from my family for about a week, especially since we're going to be on personal vacation for just about the two weeks just before this.

Then my thoughts went to the almost 18 hours in the air it's going to take to get there and I wondered if I would go stir crazy on either leg of the trip.

I've long been used to the eight hours to mainland Europe but on the last couple of trips I found myself getting very antsy about five hours in.  What in the world will I do for 18 hours?  You can only watch so many movies, listen to so much iPod, sleep so much.  Truth be told, I'm a horrible worker on a plane.  I can never get comfortable enough to work on my laptop plus I usually don't have an electrical outlet near me and for some reason the work laptop's batteries only last about two hours at max!

But eventually it has sunk in how fortunate I am to work for a company who wanted me at this conference and feel that my presence there is important to our longer term strategy and plans.

I'm also excited to take a day or two for personal excursions.  I'm not sure what all is around Hyderabad or even how close some of the favorite tourist spots are yet.  If you haven't taken a look at it in awhile, it's a massively huge country.  It's the seventh largest country (land area) in the world and the second largest by population.  On the Southern end it looks like there's some prime relaxation near a massive coastline and a short hop, skip and jump over to Sri Lanka.  Of course, to the North, you're heading up near Nepal and Pakistan.  What will NOT be lost on me is how close I'll be to Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq and as an American these are important spots in my lifetime.
Today we got a list of things we need to get done before we even THINK about heading to India.  Need to get a visa (what? MasterCard isn't good enough? I keed!) and so I have to submit my passport, copy of my driver's license, money (of course), 2 more passport-type photos, letters from my employer, our operations in India as well as a legal firm who works with the Indian consulate to get all this stuff done, oh and a short power of attorney-type statement for that firm.
 And if the paperwork don't kill ya', I gots to go and get me a whole bunch of shots (not the J├Ągermeister kind either!) to ward off whatever ails me or what CAN ail me.
So hey, if anything, there's gonna be some good blogging material over the next couple of months, plus loads of pictures!!  Stay tuned!

10 January 2011

Negotiations with a dog

He did it again.

That son of ours had us cracking up right at dinner time last night.

He came over to the table and both of us were in the main part of the kitchen.  He had left a whole bucket worth of toys on the floor in the family room.

We asked him to pick them up because if he left them on the floor, Wrigley, our 85 lb. Golden would go chew them up.  We reminded him that recently she gnawed off the arm of the Little People™ Fireman when he left it out.
To which he responded by looking straight at Wrigley and saying, "Wrigley, you promise not to eat up my toys okay?".  He then answered for her saying yes and then looked at us and said "Wrigley promised not to eat my toys".

How could you not laugh?  Of course, other famous people have heard their dogs talk to them.  The Son of Sam comes to mind.  Okay, KIDDING!!

What a fantastic way to justify not having to pick up toys.  My kid's a hell of a negotiator, but we knew this already the way he upsells each request for candy/cookies/gummies on a regular basis.

07 January 2011

POW! BAM! @%&# ZONK!

Well, the joys of Aidan turning three has involved his intense desire to live, breathe and act as Batman.

We really had no idea where this came from other than at school where the other little boys may have gotten into the superhero genre a bit earlier thanks to older brothers.  In fact, Aidan's buddy/nemesis at school is almost always wearing Spiderman clothes and the amount of fake web shooting out of our wrists at home has been at an all-time high for the last 3-4 months.  (This of course took me instantly back to 4th grade at Fairview School and playing with Kyle Bernsten and Stan-can't remember his last name on the playground doing the same exact thing....hmm, the Circle of Life)

But a Batman Cave was top of the list for Aidan when telling Santa what he wanted for this year and lo' and behold, he was just good enough for Ol' St. Nick to come through.
But this has really been a nice throwback for me as not only do we DVR The Batman cartoon on Boomerang (Cartoon Network) which is an updated flashy, but not as dark as Batman Beyond, but we also DVR the original Batman TV series from the 60's.

I remember always making time to catch Batman on either WGN or WFLD when I got home from school.  Now I'm making time for when Aidan gets home from school.  It still amazes me at the big named talent that they would get to play villains on that show given it's campy format.  I usually take a look at what's going to play for the week and then choose which sets of 2 (remember, most of them were always 2 half-hour episodes with the cliff-hanger in between) we're going to record.

I happened to see that early next week they are going to run the ones with Chandell (Liberace) who plays a concert pianist who tries to woo Aunt Harriet to get her fortune.
This likely will not be one for Aidan, it'll move too slow and he won't get it but since there were only 2 episodes, it'll be a great one for me.

At this point, Aidan mostly likes the loud/obnoxious villains who are also more of the "major" ones like Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman.  He also has recently become aware of Mr. Freeze but mostly because of the cartoon version we see.  Somehow these capture his attention more than the cerebral villains like Bookworm, Mad Hatter, King Tut and Egghead.

In a weird way, I'm wondering how Aidan's countless Sheriff Woody characters are dealing with the arrival of several Batmans?

Lastly, Aidan does a bit of association with lists or items I think mostly for memory but also to prove to us he can remember things.  For example, quite some time ago he got interested in what our favorite colors are and he was very proud that he could always remember each of our colors. 

For Batman, he's assigned each of us one of the Batman characters for role play.  He, of course, is Batman (there was even discussion tonight, 10 months in advance, that he'd be Batman for Halloween next year).  I am the youthful ward/boy wonder Robin, Mary Kay is the Catwoman, my Dad is Joker and my Mom is Penguin.  Quite the crew the lot of us.

Until my next post, stayed tuned, same bat-time, same bat-channel......