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Category Archives: Chicago Chatter

Let’s get one thing straight.  Conan’s one of my favorite people on the planet.  So when I was one of the fortunate 14,000 who got tickets to see him tape in Chicago, I about lost my mind.  I have been a Conan fan for about 15 years so it was definitely a dream come true.  The day was such a big deal that I was painfully aware of every passing minute so I thought I’d transcribe it for you after the jump.  Enjoy!

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If you didn’t hear about it, Venus passed in front of the Sun yesterday..and it was awesome.  Don’t worry though, it’ll do it again in 2117 so you can just catch it then.  The image above was captured by NASA SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory), a satellite orbiting the sun.  Here’s a link to a bunch more fantastic images.

The Adler Planetarium did a big event for the Transit, setting up dozens of telescopes and hosting live feeds from NASA TV.  Around 5000 people showed up making it the most popular event they’ve hosted since 2003!  Hit the jump for a few images  from my Adler experience. Read More »

It’s another Spacesuit drawing.  I’m still hammering out details for a comic so in the meantime I figured I’d do some character design work.

BTW, congrats to SpaceX and NASA for having a successful docking of the Dragon capsule to the ISS!!  Now let’s hope for a flawless reentry and splash down on May 31st.  GO DRAGON GO!

At the beginning of the month I applied to the Museum of Science and Industry’s Month at the Museum competition.  Basically people from around the world were competing to live in the MSI for a full month and do everything the museum had to offer…oh, and did I mention you get a productin suite including a new laptop and camera plus $10,000!!

If you’re interested you can watch the video portion of my entry here.  Don’t worry, I lost, but I thought some people might get a kick out of reading the letter they sent me telling me I lost.  I thought it was a bit much, but still appreciated.

Read the letter after the jump: Read More »

Derek and I finally recorded a podcast.  Get excited.  The first episode has Derek and I catching everyone up on what we’ve been doing since the last podcast.

The show is going to have a new guest every week.

Check back every Wednesday for new episodes.

The easiest way to listen is on iTunes.  Search “Podcasts Don’t Suck” or just click this LINK.

We’ll start light then end angry.  Here we go:

Flight of the Dan

I’ve started a series that inserts me into the posters of movies I watched from ages five to fifteen.  I call the series Flight of the Dan.  The above cropped image is from the title piece.  You can follow the series on my facebook page.  Eventually the series will end up in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Do Dogs Understand Language or Tone/Gesture?

This is a legitimate question.  I was walking to the L when I saw someone yelling at their dog in Spanish.  I thought “Hmm, so does the dog only respond to Spanish words?  Would it respond to “Sit” or just “Siéntese.”  Do you have to match the language or just the tone?  Seriously, I want an answer.  I’ve decided this will be my child’s first science fair experiment.

Mugged and Kidnapped

Last night one of Trish’s co-workers was held up at gunpoint, forced into a car, and taken to an ATM where she withdrew $200.  I guess the story ends well because the muggers left her on a street corner instead of raping and killing her.  How pathetic is it that THAT is the happy ending?!

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Apparently I’m not very good at it. I kept on top of this thing for a couple of weeks but now, as with most things, I’ve started to focus on other interests. That’s one of my main problems in life. Every two weeks I have a new life goal. A month ago it was to be a ground breaking blogger that gave insight into the 20’s male living in a modern city. Now, all I want is a job…but who doesn’t, right?

Actually, I’ve been distracted by I was given a month long trial where I’ve been doing as many tutorials as possible to sharpen my “skills.”  Lynda is a site full of incredible video tutorials that make learning any software you can think of a piece of cake.  If you’re looking to become master of Photoshop, Powerpoint, or even Ebay, Lynda is the place to do it.

My new (week-long) life goal is to become an animator.  This is actually something I’ve wanted to do on and off since the first grade.  Right now I’m learning Flash and making little animations as I go.  The first “complex” animation I’ve made with Flash is for Star Wars Uncut; which is basically a fan project where Episode 4 has been broken up into 15 second clips and fans are remaking it one clip at a time.  Here are my 15 seconds of Star Wars fame:

and here’s the side-by-side with the original clip:


It’s snowing now…get excited.  The old (because they’re gray) squirrels look prepared because they look fatter.  I don’t know if they’ve put on holiday weight or got new coats for the winter but either way, it’s weird.

E-ink is probably the coolest thing I’ve read about….all day.  Basically e ink is little capsules filled with white and black ink that reacts to positive and negative charges.  When the charge is negative you get white, and when it’s positive you get black…basically.  This has been most famously used in the Amazon Kindle books, but they’ve got other ideas for it like tattoos and watches.  It can also be “printed” on flexible things like magazines and t-shirts.

The coolest thing I’ve seen this applied to is a keypad on a phone.  Depending on what mode you’re in the keypad is either numbers or letters.  It eliminates the need to print a whole bunch of crap on each button…which is awesome!  I know what you Iphoners are thinking “Dan, my phone doesn’t have a keypad so how does this affect me?”  It doesn’t, you wiener, now go back to updating your faceboook status and “bumping” information to each other.  I like keypads, so sue me.  Alright, nerd time is over, let’s talk about how obnoxious Chicago drivers are:


What is the deal with the horns guys?!  Seriously, it loses it’s meaning if you use it all the damn time!  I don’t get it, as soon as the light turns green, someone lays on their horn.  It’s like their hand is hovering over the damn thing, quivering like an itchy trigger finger.  Maybe it’s because of my Oklahoma licence plate but trust me, I still know that green means go!  Jesus…I preferred it when everyone was texting and not paying attention to the road.

Chicago didn’t get the Olympics.  They even had Obama’s help and he’s the biggest celebrity in the world, and yet the committee went “Pass!”  What I’m wondering is what they’re going to do with the thousands of banners, like the one posted above, that are EVERYWHERE in this city?  I’m thinking blankets for the homeless.  That way somebody wins.


Well, all my Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator) quit working on me last night.  I was up till 5 am this morning trying to get them working again.  Has anyone ever had a License just up and stop working for them? NO!  It’s stupid as HELL!!  I’ve loved Adobe products for years, why do they have to make me hate them now?!  As you can see, I’m a little frustrated.


I don’t really want to talk too much about the recent death at a Southside public school because this is supposed to be a light hearted blog, but I recently found a statistic that was startling.  Last year 37 kids were murdered at Chicago public schools, making it the most deadly city to go to school.  This year, after only four weeks, three students have already been murdered.  I’ve wondered what it’d be like to raise kids in Chicago…now I don’t think I want to know.


Did you know you can have Barack come to your party for a low low price?

I saw a guy riding the El train like he was standing still.  He just leaned against the wall reading a book.  People were falling over with every turn and stop and I didn’t even see his weight shift.  It was as if he found some gravitational dead spot in the train.  To say I was impressed with a slight man-crush is an understatement.  God speed Master Train Rider.


We were walking down the street when seven cop cars came speeding past us.  After a few moments another cop car came by bringing up the rear.  Derek suggested it was a race and that guy was losing do to a faulty short cut.  I figured they were just radioed about a close out sale for donuts and fascism. GOT ‘EM!


Is it as bad as everyone says it is?  Not really.  You get used to it pretty fast.  Adapt or die I guess.  The trick is to constantly stay aware of everything at all times because anything can happen.  I’ll give you a quick example: I was in the right lane when the light turned green.  The cab to my left sped out in front of me and made a right turn through the intersection almost hitting three people crossing the street.  I had never seen that before.  In that moment I learned another lesson: cabs do whatever they want, whenever they want.

I dropped Trish off at her work downtown this morning.  While waiting at a stop light I noticed what looked to be snow falling on the car in front of me.  I thought “That’s impossible…but this is Chicago…”  I looked up to realize it was suds falling from a window washer twenty stories up.  There isn’t an amount of money you could pay me to do that job.  I’d rather fight Kimbo Slice in a backyard.