Dayton – January 2018 – Airplanes as Abstract Art

With another exceptionally cold day greeting us, but wanting to keep up with the goal of 13,000 steps per day it was decided to make the hour trip back to Dayton to the US Air Force Museum. It is huge, it is inside and heated, and it is free.

Having been there a couple of times recently and taken photos, with a blog posting, I decided to focus on different views, which ended up what I am calling ‘Airplanes as Abstract Art’.

Rather than try to come up with profiles of each plane, I tried to combine angles, views and perspectives to come up with different views. With the very dark lighting throughout  it made it challenging, but also added an interesting effect.

First up, a Fairchild C119J Right Propeller and the vertical stabilizer for the Space Shuttle mock up (for some reason the USAF Museum did not get one of the original shuttles).

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A North American Twin Mustang ‘Betty Jo’ and a collection of other tails and wings in the ‘Cold War’ section.

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A General Dynamics F111 Aardvark nose backed by an Lockheed AC130A transport plane.

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A Lockheed F117A Nighthawk ‘stealth’

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Douglas C124C Globemaster cargo plane with the cargo loading door open, coupled with the very symmetric ceiling of the hangar. The cold kept most people away, this is one of very few photos from the day that ended up with people in them (barely visible in the interior of the plane).

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Douglas B18 Bolo

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Fokker DR1 Triplane from the early days of flight. This one is hanging upside down from the ceiling.

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A Hawker XV6A.

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Finally a Lockheed XR71 Blakbird. For many years it held records as the fastest airplane (well over 2000 miles per hour) and altitude, at over 80,000 feet. With our walking steps goal complete we headed back out into the cold.

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Chicago – December 2017 – A Cold Holiday Week

While our visit to Chicago for Christmas wrapped up as one of the coldest ever, it was fantastic. The lights and scenes of the city made being bundled up against the cold worthwhile.

A quick drive over to Burnham Park gave a seasonal perspective of the classic skyline view, minus the boats, but with frozen water instead.

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The Tribune Tower’s Nathan Hale statue was decked out for the season.

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A different view – the Willis (aka Sears) Tower looking north.

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With the extreme cold Lake Michigan iced over in the just few days we were there.

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Meanwhile up at Wrigley Field they had set up a Christmas Market, complete with an ice rink.

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Our final evening was spent walking along the (now frozen as well) Chicago River.

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And a walk along the Magnificent Mile.

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Chicago – December 2017 – Museum of Science and Industry

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry was the perfect choice for another exceptionally cold December day.  Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Shore of Chicago, it is located in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.  It became the Museum of Science and Industry during the 1933 Century of Progress Worlds Fair.

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The famed ‘Christmas Around the World’ tree greets you as you arrive during the holiday season, standing 45′ tall with 30,000 lights and ‘snow’ falling twice an hour.

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My main purpose for the visit to what is essentially a children’s museum was to see the ‘Great Train Story’, a 3500 square foot HO model railroad display.

This model leads you from a large Chicago model along a 2200 mile journey to Seattle. It is located in the transportation hall, underneath a Boeing 727.

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The downtown Chicago model has many details including the El.

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When you reach Seattle it is complete with the Space Needle.

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The other exhibit I wanted to check out was the lego ‘Brick by Brick’ display. Interestingly despite all the interesting architecture in Chicago from Frank Lloyd Wright they chose to use Fallingwater, located near Pittsburgh (although it is the best architectural home in America)

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The Pyramids were represented, including a cutaway to show the interior.

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Same as with the Roman Colosseum. While the exhibits were nice, we have seen better exhibits for both the Lego’s and model railroad displays (Cincinnati History Center comes to mind, as well as Entertrainment Junction). Still it beat being outside in -2 Ft (-15 C) weather.

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Chicago – December 2017 – Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial purpose is to “provides a platform for groundbreaking architectural projects and spatial experiments that demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience.”

As part of that this years exhibit includes an exhibit called “Make New History”. This exhibit features a number of architectural interpretations of a redesign of the iconic Tribune Tower.

Interestingly the venue for this very modern exhibit is the classic Chicago Cultural Center, including the stunning stained glass dome in the Grand Army of the Republic rotunda.

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Before arriving at the main exhibit room we visited some displays of miniatures.

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The details on most were amazing, although some of the more abstract ones looked like a discarded toy box. This model was an Asian interpretation of the Tribune Tower.

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Full view of the Serie Architects ‘Far Eastern Headquarters’ model.

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The Tribune Tower is a Neo Gothic building completed in 1925. The various interpretations varied greatly from that design.

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6a architects view was meant to resemble a totem pole of stacked artifacts.

 

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Architect and ‘urbanist’ Charles Waldheiim went even further with a number of interpretations of famous Chicago buildings including the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower, Marina City and the Thompson Center.

Called Heliomorphic Chicago it is set up in the classic Chicago grid street system.

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Chicago – December 2017 – Christmas Sunset

Christmas Day in Chicago, 2017 was a cold one, with temperatures near 10 Fahrenheit.  But it was mostly clear, with a beautiful sunset coming, so it was time to go back up the John Hancock Tower.

 

From here you had a great view of the snow covered, empty Navy Pier.

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The marina in Lincoln Park is vacant as well.

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But as the sun set the lights came on.

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Looking back toward the Navy Pier and Lake Michigan. Of note in the far distance top center is a bright light. One of the steel mills in northern Indiana was having a ‘burn off’ of gases causing what is known locally as the Pilot Light of Northwestern Indiana.

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The view southwest toward the Willis Tower (aka – Sears Tower) and beyond.

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The view down Michigan Avenue as the darkness approached from the east.

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The beautiful Wrigley Building. Built in 1920 as the first large office building north of the river, it continues to be one of the most majestic in the city.

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Columbus – December 2017 – Krampus

This year I learned something new, the legend of ‘Krampus’.  According to the legend (and Wikipedia), Krampus is a half goat- half demon who during the Christmas season punishes children who have been bad. Over time the legend coupled Krampus with Saint Nicholas to encourage children to be good.

For a full description please see the Wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

Krampus celebrations are a big deal in Germany, Austria and other countries in the region. This was the first I had seen any celebrations in the states, and while small, was entertaining.

The group gathered in the a parking lot in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus.

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Noise makers and elaborate costumes were the order of the day.

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Apparently the Grinch and Mrs Grinch fit the bill as well. The costumes were great.

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Three horned ladies.

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The legend says they use sticks to ‘whip the children into behaving’. Clearly not a 21st century approach.

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The parade went down the sidewalk for about 3 blocks.

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I behaved myself.

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Another Krampus monster.

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Mrs Claus has a new look, along with apparently a Clint Eastwood fan. Hopefully this celebration catches on and grows larger each year – it is a nice change from the repetitiveness of the usual Christmas celebrations and festivals.

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Columbus – December 2017 – Revisiting the Chinese Lantern Festival

December has brought the Chinese Lantern Festival back to town. Celebrating the art and craft of Sichuan, China, the lanterns are a beautiful combination of fabrics and light.

As you enter the grounds you are immediately greeted by a canopy of lanterns.

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The displays are very large – the one below is approximately 50′ across by 15′ high.

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Many dealt with wildlife, most coming from the Chinese Calendar.

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More nature is celebrated with giant flowers.

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The Lovers arches.

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This year the entertainment was moved inside, avoiding the extreme cold that often occurs in December in Ohio. These young ladies had amazing agility and strength.

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The face-changing actor was the only return act from last year  – still amazing.

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The plate spinners. While we don’t often repeat activities the Chinese Lantern Festival will be an annual event.

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