An Unexpected Trip

Well, it was a beautiful day so I decided that I’d head on out to Springfield.  There was slow moving traffic so I didn’t stop in Lee as intended and, well, before I realized it, I was in Springfield.  No, I didn’t see Homer, Marge, Bart, or Maggie (it was Massachusetts they were determined to be in, right?)

Springfield is interesting.  I was going to stop at the Basketball Hall of Fame, but it was a bit late in the day and, well, I’m not a Basketball afficionado.  But it is a cool, cool building (built like – you guessed it – a basketball).

I went to a few different restaurants before stumbling across a place called The Brickhouse, in Indian Orchard.  After going to three restaurants that, well, looked a bit sketchy, I looked for the highest rated restaurant and drove over there…

What I liked about it –


* From Brickhouse Tavern’s Facebook Page

  • A local sports bar
  • Friendly staff
  • The Chef and Bartender knew all of their regulars but especially made an effort to come out and welcome me.
  • Food was great
  • Beer was great.

What I didn’t like about it –

  • It’s too far away
  • I am not a regular.

But that’s ok.  I’m going back.  Plus, I found a new beer I liked that’s brewed out in Ludlow…if I only knew where that was, but it is supposedly near Springfield.

Thanksgiving Dinner

If you don’t know me, you don’t know that I’m not around family during the holidays.  So, for Thanksgiving this year I went to Druthers (ok, I went on Black Friday) in Albany.  I first went to Druthers when I was looking to move out here and found their patio based restaurant in Saratoga Springs.  I, ironically, have never been back to that location since I just love the Warehouse District of Albany.

Druthers is famous for their Mac and Cheese and, well, it is definitely a meal with three meal leftovers.  But I ate it ALL at once.  Oops!

Druthers is just south of I-90 on Broadway and just north of the Nipper building.  You can easily get to them of the Menands exit of I-787.

My FIRST real Devils Game

I had an awesome opportunity to go to a New Jersey Devils game.  Since I have YET to find a girlfriend who isn’t a cart of baggage and who loves hockey I asked my friend Jason if he’d be willing to go with me to a New Jersey Devils game.  Jason was one of the first folks who I met up here who was into sports and is a HUGE NJ Devils fan.  I think he can recite every stat in their history.  (The backstory is that I sat behind him in training class when the Cubs and Mets were playing and gave him crap since I was from Chicago…little did he know at the time that I hated the Cubs.  He took my ribbing in good stride and my nose has mostly healed by now…maybe me being a Devils fan was a result of a little Tony Soprano, but that’s ok…)  Jason became one as a wee lad watching the Albany River Rats with his Dad.  Unfortuantely, my Dad couldn’t share his passion for the Chicago Black Hawks (he used to go with his friend Palmer).  You see, Dollar Bill Wirtz thought broadcasting the Hawks on TV would destroy his season ticket holder fan base.  As such it was 2008 when ownership passed to his son Rocky that the Hawks began to be on TV (and when they started being good).  I refuse to like the Black Hawks for this very reason.

I had only been to AHL games to this point – having gone to the United Center to watch the Wolves (which I nearly forgot) and then the Alabany Devils (which is how we really got connected).  So we embarked on the 2 1/2 hour long journey.  Jason navigated since he had been there before and made sure I made it up to see New York City’s skyline – which is a place I have never been.  As we walked along he shared with me knowledge of the Devils and extreme patience as clearly I knew just a fraction of what he did.  And he patiently taught me the way of the arena.

We were playing the Wild.  One of their players, Zach Parise, was on the Devils in days past.  We booed him.  And after each goal we yelled You Suck.  Jersey life is different.  I saw, but did not meet NJ Devil (the mascot).  I had my first Taylor Ham in the form of Strombili.  And they were nice enough to win in periods.  Life was great!

The best part is that Marty’s statue was dedicated.  I had so much fun, more than I would ever expected.

The Baseball Hall of Fame

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit a place I have long dreamed of going to, a place I never thought I’d be able to visit.   You see, The National Baseball Hall of Fame is located in upstate New York in a small town called Cooperstown.  Certainly, this boy from Illinois wouldn’t travel 800 miles to go to a place that has nothing around it…  Or would he.

You see, Albany never made it on my radar before I moved here.  I thought that New York was, well, New York City…which for 40% of New Yorker’s is the case.  However, having moved up here last year I began to realize that Cooperstown was a short jaunt away.   And I realized exactly how much upstate NY had to offer.  It truly is a special area.

I set out going west from Saratoga down 29 and weaved and meandered through some of the most beautiful country.  Mountains, the Adirondacks, and farm fields soon gave way to a beautiful lake view and a small town named Cooperstown.  As I crossed what I would later find out is the only bridge in Cooperstown, I saw what reminded me of Bedford Falls.  I looked for the Bailey Savings and Loan – but not finding it, managed to locate some beautiful buildings – a thriving downtown – and most importantly the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The excitement ensued as I found a free parking space and began the 3/4 of a mile trek past the Ostego county building toward the Hall of Fame.   Saying hello to the mail man who was enthralled with his smart phone – must be checking baseball scores – I proceeded east.  As I arrived at the door, I opened it and went in.   This place is a dream for me…and I had no idea what lurked beyond.

As I entered, I listened to the old farts ahead of me – they weren’t from NY – give the poor receptionist a hard time as she tried to sell the membership.  For me, she wouldn’t need the spiel.  I just had to determine which team I would affiliate with.  Which team would be mine for the next year.

On one hand, I had my beloved Cardinals.  The team I grew up loving.  The team that made the Cubs look so awful.  The team that encompasses over half of Illinois fandom.  The team who I once had a vast collection of items from – only to be swept away by the negligence of my neighbor.  The team that I could only bear to watch one game for in 2015 – a game I watched in Bloomington.

The other hand had a team that was new to me.  A team that I have grown to love.   A team that doesn’t have a storied history as the Cardinals…or the successes of her big sister, the evil Yankees that I have despised.   Yeah, I chose the underdogs.  I chose the Mets.

I can’t wait to return.  Having a membership helped me not to feel I had to do it all – though I spent the better part of the day there.   I will return.  I can’t wait.  If it wasn’t 66 miles from my house, I’d be there every day.  I’d quit my day job.  You see, I love baseball.

But what was probably the biggest surprise was that they didn’t clear the 2015 case.  I got to see Sean Conroy’s display.  He was featured prominently in the book I read – a book about baseball and statistics.  A book that brought back memories of my Econometrics class – a class that gave me a love for math.  And, perhaps, one day I will have the opportunity to meet someone who is in the hall.  Maybe it will be my hero Ozzie Smith – or maybe it will be someone a bit less famous, but someone who made history.  We shall see.  For me, though, baseball it a way of life.  It is truly America’s sport.  And I couldn’t be more excited than a pig in mud with my visit.  I will be back.  Maybe I can find a way to get there this summer for induction.  That would be a life’s dream fulfilled…




Well, I haven’t used my camera all winter.  My plan was to take pictures of the beautiful surroundings with snow on the ground.  Unfortunately, there has been very little of the promised snow up here.    So, yesterday I went to Patsy’s Barber Shop in Albany at the suggestion of a friend.  You see, I haven’t had a decent haircut since I’ve been up here and I was lamenting of the same.  Well, Patsy’s is great – old school in a new way.  Reminded me of my barber back in Glen Ellyn at Punch.   Mom says it is too short on the sides, but I like it.

Well, driving all the way to civilization from the barren exurb I live in is a trip so I took my camera and shot some beautiful early morning photos of the New York State Capitol.  W


Looking toward Rensselaer from the Empire State Plaza

hen I got home, I went to upload them.  Seems, unfortunately, that the card was write protected so none of those images were saved.  Not a problem, it was in the 50’s today so I headed back out this afternoon.  Not as pretty (a little overcast) and the lighting was different.  I know I didn’t get some of the same shots – but I know I got others which were better.   Such is life.

I can’t wait until the tulips bloom and I can photograph Washington Park.  I hear it is beautiful.   And there are a lot of flower beds around the capitol.  Lots of beautiful buildings as well.

New Website

So, here it is.  I recently registered this domain for my photography hobby.  I decided on using this theme because I really like it.  Still a bit to work on, but it should look cooler soon!


Haven’t quite redecorated my blog yet.  But it is forthcoming…  This is my first Christmas season in Saratoga Springs – where it always is pretty.  However, it has been so warm that there is no snow!  Can you believe it only snowed very briefly in October when my parents came.  So, snow must be an Illinois thing!