Bing! Six More Weeks of Winter

Posted by Arthur in Illinois, Weather

Woodstock Willie, Chicagoland’s most famous weather prognosticator, saw his shadow today in Woodstock and predicted six more weeks of winter. :-( The ceremony on Woodstock Square took place this morning shortly after 7am, after several days of events including a tour of the filming sites. Willie emerged from his tree stump (after we saw his handler put him in 15 minutes earlier, and the groundhog almost escaped!) and gave the bad news to Woodstock Mayor ­Brian Sager.

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Mayor Brian Sager finds out if Willie saw his shadow

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February 2nd 2009 | 7:54 pm CET | No Comments »

Groundhog Days in Woodstock Part 2

Posted by Arthur in Illinois, Movies

(continued from part 1) So we were waiting outside the Opera House for the tour of the filming sites in Woodstock and at 1:25pm we were still the only ones there. A police officer of the WPD confirmed that we were in the right place for the tour, but where was everybody? Then all of a sudden people poured out of the Opera House, where they had been for a Chili Cookoff, as they do in Punxutawney. There were about 50 people in the tour, which was led by Bob Hutchins, the location manager of Groundhog Day. He gave us a great insight in the filming of the movie and all the different filming locations in Woodstock. First off he explained how they chose the town of Woodstock.

Woodstock 055 (31-Jan)

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February 1st 2009 | 11:11 am CET | No Comments »

Groundhog Days in Woodstock Part 1

Posted by Arthur in Illinois, Movies

Today we went to Woodstock for Groundhog Days. Since the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray was filmed in Woodstock, the town has been celebrating the days leading up to the February 2nd holiday with events inspired by the movie. We participated in an awesome walking tour of the filming sites with Bob Hutchins, who was location manager for the movie, and at 10:00 this morning we saw a free show of the movie Groundhog Day at Woodstock Theater.

Woodstock 027 (31-Jan)

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February 1st 2009 | 12:33 am CET | No Comments »

Round Lake Beach

Posted by Arthur in Personal

Today we signed the lease on our new place in Round Lake Beach. Round Lake Beach is a village in the north of Lake County IL with a population (in 2007) of 27,959 people. There are a lot of lakes around, so that part of the name makes sense, but I’m not sure yet what the ‘beach’ is all about. It sounds like a sunny place in Florida, but believe me it is very cold there right now. We found a nice new-ish house with a garage, 3 bedrooms and a large yard. We’re going to be pretty busy the next couple of weeks moving our stuff, buying more stuff and decorating our new home with all of the stuff.

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January 30th 2009 | 11:30 pm CET | 1 Comment »

Foto Friday: Tutankhamun’s Flip-Flops

Posted by Arthur in Foto Friday, Funny

Did you know that Tutankhamum wore flip-flops? This picture is from the Tutankhamun collection in the back of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which we visited in 2003. And check out those solid-gold toe protectors. Those don’t really compare to the Gold Toe socks at Kohl’s. All this fancy footwear was recovered by archeologist Howard Carter in 1922 when he uncovered the tomb of the famous young pharaoh. The flip flop is probably the world’s oldest shoe. From pharaohs in ancient Egypt to celebrities in Hollywood, everyone seems to love them.

Tutankhamun's flip-flops

January 30th 2009 | 8:52 am CET | 1 Comment »

My Hinky Illinois I-Pass

Posted by Arthur in Illinois, Life in America

Yesterday I received in the mail our I-Pass transponder for the Illinois Tollway. The I-Pass is a little electronic box that we’ll attach to the windshield of our car. It allows you to drive through toll booths on toll roads without stopping, and you only pay half of the normall toll. If normally you have to pay $0.80 when you pass a toll then with the I-Pass it’ll only take $0.40 off your pre-paid account. Pretty good deal, and the transponder is basically free. You pay a $10 deposit for the device and have to charge it with $40 to start off. What could possibly go wrong?

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January 29th 2009 | 2:38 pm CET | 2 Comments »

Brita Water Filter from Target

Posted by Arthur in Shopping & Stuff

We bought two of these Brita water filter pitchers at Target the other day. They’re pink, to support breast cancer awareness, and they were marked down from $26.99 for only $13.48. I always find that tap water tastes too much like chlorine here, but with this excellent filtered pitcher our water taste great now. We no longer buy bottled water. The pitcher even has an indicator that tells you when to change the filter. The only thing I don’t like about it is the small lid in the top, it is not very secure and it keeps falling off. Otherwise it’s an excellent purchase.

I give it 4-and-a-half stars! 4.5 stars

Pink Brita water filter

January 28th 2009 | 3:13 am CET | No Comments »

Tintin Exhibit at Château de Cheverny

Posted by Arthur in Comic Books, Travel

Yesterday I wrote about the new Tintin movie by Steven Spielberg that started production this week. This reminds me of Château de Cheverny that we visited in the Loire Valley in France last year. Belgian comic book creator Hergé used Cheverny as a model for his fictional Marlinspike Hall (Château de Moulinsart in French), the residence of Captain Haddock. In the Tintin version the two outermost wings have been removed, but the rest is almost identical.

Marlinspike Hall and Chateau de Cheverny

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January 27th 2009 | 3:13 am CET | 3 Comments »

Shooting on Spielberg’s Tintin Begins

Posted by Arthur in Comic Books, Movies

Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that principal production has begun in Los Angeles on the first installment of a Tintin feature film, which will be directed by Steven Spielberg. The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn will be a 3D Motion Capture film to be released in 2011. I’m not a big fan of these motion capture films (I think The Polar Express with Tom Hanks looks just creepy) but maybe a comic book universe like that of Tintin should be animated. In any case I am very curious to see what Spielberg comes up with. They are already talking about a second (to be directed by Peter Jackson) and possibly a third film.

Cover of The Secret of the Unicorn

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January 26th 2009 | 9:57 pm CET | 2 Comments »

Tour of the ISS

Posted by Arthur in Space, Videos

Astronaut Michael Fincke, current commander of Expedition 18, gives a 4-part tour of the International Space Station with his hand-held camera. He arrived at the station aboard the Soyuz on October 14th, 2008 together with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov. What strikes me most about this video is the size of the place, it is larger than I thought it was, and the amount of stuff everywhere. There are wires, laptops, equipment, bags, tools and all kinds of stuff hanging all over the place. Astronaut Mike gives a great 35-minute tour of all the different areas of the space station. Very cool stuff.

You can find the other three parts here, here and here.

January 25th 2009 | 11:56 pm CET | No Comments »