As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed. Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another UFO photo at O'Hare--PhotoFriday Strange

Here is another one that I found in my photos I took while at O'Hare.

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Is this a Real O'Hare UFO photograph?

I have been seeing a lot of posts about the UFO's above O'Hare. So I went back to some of my own photographs I took while I was at O'Hare. And low and behold if I did not catch a photograph of a UFO. Here is the photo I took:

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I think this is truly amazing. What is really weird is how this UFO looks a lot like the one in Flight of the Navigator.
I am wondering if the producers of that movie are actual aliens from another planet and are trying to tell us that there really is life beyond Earth.

Or maybe I am making this all up at my lame attempt to be funny.

I guess you will never know. But the Truth is out there!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Taylorville Clock Tower

This photo was taken from the Park Glen High Rise. I used the chrome setting on Photoshop.

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I like it...

Credit Collection Agencies AKA "Home of Satan's Minions"

I got myself into a little trouble this year with my medical bills. You see, health my insurance changed to make us pay a deductible. Now last years bills are catching up with me in a bad way. So I have had a few turned over to Collection Agencies. And once this is done, you might as well expect to talk to some of the worst people you can imagine. And these people look at you as the scum of the earth. They lie, ridicule, threaten and persecute you to get you to pay.

One in particular that is the worst it the Credit Bureau Inc in Taylorville. There is someone there named lets call her "Dirty" that would not let me make arrangements. She called be on Dec. 23rd and told me to pay all or else. I said I would pay soon, and she hung up with the "See you in Court" routine. So a few weeks later I get a paper in the mail saying I was going to have to go to court. To keep that from happening I went and borrowed money from a local "loan shark" and paid what I thought was the balance of my bill at the Hospital. I paid what was on the last bill I got from the Hospital. What I did not realize is that there was a balance of late fees, etc. They assured me at the hospital that I could pay it at a later date. The amount was $5 and some change. They told me they would notify the Bureau that I paid the amount that was in collections. I went to the "Den of the Devil" to speak to one of "Satan's minions" to confirm this. They told me I owed $61 in court fees. I said I could pay it later that month. They said that would be fine. The next day I get a call from "Dirty" saying I need to pay the $61 in fees right now and if I did not they would put my name in the paper. I said to send me an invoice of what the fees are for and how much. She said that was not possible and said "Pay it" and then hung up. I called back and told her I was not paying anything unless I get a statement saying I owed the money. Again, "Pay the bill." and another hang up. I called again. This time I said "somehow we keep getting disconnected." She said,"Pay the bill." and another hangup. At that point I gave up.

That night I "get served" with papers to appear in court. The man who "served" me said that if I paid the bill to call the attorney and they would not require me to go to court. I called and left a message with the attorney. I stated that I thought that my responsibility was taken care of and to please let me know if it is not.

Court date comes and goes. I of course did not go thinking that all was well. A week later another letter stating that I still owed $5 and some change and since I did not appear in court judgement against me in the amount of $141 against me and another court date. This time they are going to arrest me for contempt if I fail to appear.

At this point suicide thoughts come rushing to me. Can I die by driving my truck into a tree on Rt. 29 or will I be a vegetable for the rest of my life? I am furious at the way these people are dealing with me. I call them on the phone. They said, sorry but nothing they can do. I should have went court, I learned a hard lesson, etc.

I told them the only lesson I learned was that people like them can take advantage of people like me. They could have told me that I owed that little bit and I would have rushed them the money. Instead a $5 account has turned into a $145 account. They told me that if I don't pay by Feb 1, I will be back in court with more fees.

This just stinks. And get this, its all "legal". There is something wrong with the court system for people to be able to do this and get away with it.

Well, they are going to have there money and I hope they at least lose a little sleep over it. But we all know that that is not going to happen anytime soon.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bears Win!

Well the latest is in. The Chicago Bears are the new NFC Champions. They stomped the Saints 39 to 14. They are on their way to the Superbowl in Miami. Looks like this year we can watch more that just the commercials.

I remember watching McMahon and the Fridge 21 years ago. Now this new version of the Bears are at it again.

Congratulations to Da Bears. I hope they go all the way!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gazebo

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Taken from the 10th floor of Park Glen in Taylorville

Zenobia, Illinois

Is Zenobia a former Queen of the Palmyrene Empire or a small non-existent town off of Rt 104?

Actually they are both correct. I am adding to my project Illinois with this post covering the Letter Z.

Here are some photos I took during my recent visit to this obscure town.
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Driving down Rt. 104 you may see the sign that points to Zenobia.

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Another sign show that there may be civilization as well.

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Zenobia Road, hmmm, maybe named after the town or the town named after the road.

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This sign is all that seems left of Zenobia.

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You can see the Dominion Kincaid Power plant from Zenobia.

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Another shot of the sign. Sorry folks but there is not much to work with here?

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Last photo of the sign.

California Palms

More scenes from California:

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Darkness turns to Sorrow

Darkness all around me.
I look in the mirror,
what do I see,
a man full of fear or
even something worse

The darkness surrounds my every being
People coming for me.
Trying to keep me from seeing
any light that might be,
I feel I am under their curse.

The light is there,
I see it in the distance,
I am too far away to care,
I am afraid to take a chance.
My head is going to burst.

Darkness turns to sorrow,
I finally get some rest,
I will not wake tomorrow,
I know its for the best.
I may never quench my thirst.

Bloomington, IL Clarion

I am going to post some bad things that happen to me this and last year.

Bad thing #1

Last July we booked a hotel room at the Clarion in Bloomington, IL. We booked the room for a Friday and Saturday night. That Thursday we called to confirm our reservation and to get our confirmation number. It was all set for our arrival on Friday evening.
We got to the Clarion, in Bloomington, IL. When we tried to check into the Clarion in Bloomington, IL, the lady at the front desk said that they gave our rooms away because we did not show up Thursday night. We stated that we did not book the room for the Thursday, that there was some miss understanding. They said they must have made a mistake so they did there best to get us a room. The only room they had was one that was a smoking room so they had to use an ionizer to make it smell a little better. They assured us that we were not charged a fee for a no show.
So the stay was ok, the hot tub was nasty the first night with lots of foam. Then the second night it was cleaner but the heater broke so it was luke warm. Most of the hotel was under construction with no carpeting in several areas. They did have a decent breakfast in the morning.
The day came for us to check out. We checked out and they said that my sister already paid for us. We thought that was strange but we figured we could just pay them back. I get to the location that I was supposed to meet my sister. My bother-in-law was irritated with us since when he went to check out (after us) they said that we skipped out on paying and they need to pay.
Well I check my wife's bank account the next day and I had 2 charges for $55 so a total of $110. My sister on the other had had a charge of $250 which explained that she got charged for my room as well has hers. I was thinking that the charge on my card was for my room so my sister tried to contact the hotel to get one room charge reversed. After several attempts to get it reversed, (this involved multiple calls, threats, as well as a letter) she was finally able to reverse the charge. But the following day I had a charge of $128 posted to another card. This of course caused me to go over limit. I began my calling, etc trying to find out why I was charged twice.
I left voice mail after voice mail, begging for someone to help me straiten this out. I even called the Choice Hotels to have them help me get this resolved. They took my info and after 3 weeks I got a letter from the Clarion in Bloomington, IL stating that they were sorry for any inconvenience. That is when I went to the credit card company to try and dispute it. They sent me paper work and I sent it back. Several weeks went by. I was paying what I thought was my minimum payment during the dispute, but the first month I was hit with a $29 late fee since I did not pay the full %3 of the balance. Of course the minimum payment did not say what needed to be pays so I was responsible to do the math and figure it out. After a couple months went by called to ask what was happening. They said they were working on researching the problem. Another month goes by and I get a letter stating that the Credit Card company cannot help me due to the fact that the time had went by and if I wanted it disputed I would have to go to the Hotel Clarion in Bloomington, IL for a resolution.
I called the front desk and spoke to a woman (name left out so I don't get sued). She said that this was the first she heard of it. She also said that the accountant that was taking care of the books was not doing that job anymore. I also found out that the $110 was the fee for not showing up on that Thursday. And the charge to the Credit Card was for the room. So all this time I was disputing the wrong thing. I ask if she would help (this was in December) and she put me through to the voice mail of the lady who checked us in that day. She promised that if I left a message that she was really good about returning voice mails. I left a voice mail and waited a couple of weeks. Now I am coming back from my trip to California. I thought if I show up there at the Bloomington,IL Clarion, then they would have to help me, right? Guess again. When I arrived in the lobby a nice man helped me by telling me no one was there. I appealed to his good side by telling him that I came from 1 and 1/2 hours away to get this resolved. He called the manager at home and boy did she not like that. I was bothering her. I ask her what to do and she said she could not help me. Here is the conversation paraphrased as best as I can remember it"

Woman: Sir, I am at home and there is nothing I can do for you here.
Me: Well I cam all the way from Taylorville that is 1 1/2 hours away.
Woman: I apologize for your troubles but there is really nothing I can do. It is over 6 months ago and this is the first I am hearing of your problem.
Me: I called and called and no one would help me.
Woman: Well you did not call me!
Me: Ma'am, I called the company that you work for, last time I checked that is the same thing.
Woman: No it is not. I did not know anything about this and now we are in a new year. There is no way I can refund your money.
Me: If I do not get a refund I am going to post this story on my blog and every time someone does a Google search for Bloomington Clarion, they are going to see my post in the top 10 hits.
Woman: I am taking note of your threats to harm our business.
Me: I am not threatening to harm your business but people need to know when business do not make an error they made right.
Woman: You are trying to harm our business.
Me: I am done talking to you. Good bye.

I also found out that the headquarters of Clarion that I called to get help is just a franchise head that they pay money to. They take the reports of unsatisfied customers and make the franchises send certified letters of apology. And that is all they are required to do. (According to the lady I spoke to on the phone)
By that time I was a little hot under the collar but I left with no refund of the money they took from me.

I guess the customer is not always right.


This is from there website:

"We realize that our guests have many options they can make and

that is why whether you are traveling for business or leisure purposes,

the Bloomington Clarion Hotel strives to make sure all of our guests

have a positive and memorable stay with us. "

At least they got one right, it was not positive but it certainly was memorable.

Clarion Hotel in Bloomington, IL. Thanks but no thanks.

Update: I was searching for reviews and I wish I saw these before I booked my room.

Worst experience ever. First off, we were welcomed by a lovely worker with his butt hanging out of his pants. Then the pool gave a rash to everyone who went in it. It was also very warm, like 85-90 degrees. The staff were very rude, and mean. Our room was nasty. The weight room equipment was all broken. And yeah theres an arcade and a pool table, but you cant use them. There just there for looks. The rooms are half the size of any other hotel. Okay lets put it this way, even a $10 a night hotel would have bigger rooms than this one did. The breakfast was cold, even at 7 am in the morning. The old section of the hotel wasnt even blocked off, so anyone could go back there and get killed. The bar was open to anyone, so even a 14 year old could go in and get wasted. To top it all off, never stay at the clarion, it is the worst experience ever.

Stay anywhere but the Clarion. Bugs, poor air conditioning, unresponsive maintenance, and lack of hot water were all issues during our group's stay. A park bench might be a better option.

We were invited to a Birthday Party at the Clarion Hotel in Bloomington. We arrived at 4:30 in the afternoon to find what they called a party room. This room had three round tables and 2 square tables. The carpet in the room was wet and our jeans were soaked at the bottom. This ceiling panels in this room were wet and mold was growing on the ceiling tiles. In addition there was a hole in the wall and there was no knob on the bathroom door. Just the whole where the knob should be. There were no kleenex in the bathroom, no soap or hand towels for hand washing. There were dead bugs in the floor under the sink and in the bathtub. We did complain but the staff was very nasty and said that there was no manager on duty. We did call the local health department and report the mold issue. The staff claims the we did not go through the proper chanels to book a party room but in any event this room was not acceptable. The price they charged was $265.00 for that room from 4 - 9 pm. That also seems outragous.

Too many more to post here. Check it out for yourself.



Suicide is Painless

Suicide is Painless
(Theme from M*A*S*H*)
Through early morning fog I see,
Visions of the things to be,
The pains that are withheld for me,
I realize and I can see...
That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make,
All our little joys relate,
Without that ever-present hate,
But now I know that it's too late, and...
That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

The game of life is hard to play,
I'm gonna lose it anyway.
The losing card I'll someday lay,
So this is all I have to say.
That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

The only way to win is cheat,
And lay it down before I'm beat,
And to another give my seat,
For that's the only painless feat.
That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

The sword of time will pierce our skins.
It doesn't hurt when it begins.
But as it works its way on in,
The pain grows stronger...watch it grin, but...
That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

A brave man once requested me,
to answer questions that are key.
Is it to be or not to be?
And I replied 'Oh why ask me?'
That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

'Cause suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please....And you can do the same thing if you choose.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Surfs up!

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At Laguna Beach

Wierd Flowers

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The colorful flowers are called Bird of Paradise.

Take a number

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The Office 1/11/2007

Harvey Robot--Michael created a robot that speaks as he types. "Boobs"

Pass the Tardy Sauce.

Dwight does Michael's laundry.

Amazing Race with bragging rights.

Dwight tried to take Michael's job behind his back.

Pam is going with Angela to get coffee.

Dwight is rocking out to Kick Start My Heart.

Michael uses the Women's Room.

Commercial

7 out of 10 attacks are from the rear. 30% chance Jim will attack from the front.

80 lbs shark caught with a rifle.

New York stock exchange is in New York.

Classic Lame dash Oh.

Noel and Curt or Angela and Dwight

Angela tells Pam that "Curt" drove to New York for "Noel" to take a paper to corporate that she forgot.

Schrewted it--Really messed it up.

Ryan pitching paper to a bunch of black men.

Dwight uses a potential customers phone to make a call to another paper company and was put on hold.

Andy trying to sabotage Dwight and tells on him going to New York.
Made him think Dwight was going to see Jan.

Fool me once strick one Fool me twice Strick Three.

Commercial.

Beezwax not yours Incorporated.

Rooster did not crow.

That's what she said.

Michael tells him he has to confess why he went to New York or leave.

Jim had a crush on Pam.

Dwight resigns because he does not want to reveal his love for Angela.

Dwight's dream was shattered.

Dwight hugs Jim.

Commercial

Happy is an ugly word.

End of show.

Is this then end of Dwight?

Irvine, California Business Complex

Here are some photos of that area I have spent almost a week in.

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Construction Workers Unite

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Gillette and Main, Irvine, California

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Scenes from a Mall

Here are photos I took while at the South Coast Plaza.

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Southern California at 500 ft

I took these photos as I was landing at Orange County Airport.

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John Wayne Orange County Airport

Here is some photos taken of the John Wayne Statue at the John Wayne Orange County Airport.

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West Coast Night Shots

Taken tonight in California.

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