Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gee, Thanks

I finally got an insurance check to pay for all the items stolen from my house. Well, lets just say the items they decided to pay me for. I personally believe that they didn't believe half of what I was telling them was missing.

However, they wasted no time in jacking my house insurance premium about $150 a year. At that rate, I'll pay for my own stuff in about 6 years. I'll take that back. It will pay THEM back in six years. The check I got wouldn't begin to cover the value of things that were stolen.

Obviously, with part of the settlement money, I replaced my beloved little Kodak V603with its big brother, the V 803. I know this will work for me and against me. Some of the items missing and not refunded their worth was part of a coin collection because the items were not "listed". I know its gonna cost me, but the rest of the coin collection and about any and everything in this house of appreciative value is going to get photgraphed and listed....right down to the 4 cases of Mountain Dew in the basement.

I guess it pisses me off that I have had one automobile claim in 22 years with them for about 2 grand. I've had renters or homeowners with them since the mid 80's and this is my first claim. The car, my fault. But the house? Not so. Beyond my control. If I would have set the house on fire, left the water on or some other act of stupidity (or forgetfulness) I can see it being my fault and raising my rates. But, I'm getting taken for a third time: first the burglars, next the insurance payment check and now by the company itself.

Oh, and thank you for knocking that whole $.05 off my monthly car insurance bill. I'm sure that was an error. Let me get out my check book as I'm sure they want that back.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Morning Trek

I'm not trying to be or compete with PeoriaIllinoisan's site or take insanely awesome photos like Keith Shank, but I'd like to share an interesting journey I took this morning.

Be sure to click on some of the photos as they are quite small, but when opened, they show some nice detail of an era gone bye.

Last year, I noticed a paved biking\walking trail that starts at the lower entrance to Glen Oak Park at the corner of Perry and Abingdon.



So early last week, I got out the trusty bike and rode it to see where it went. Apparently, I disturbed this guy’s morning



and he was none to happy with me as he was making some sort of growling noise while trying to shoot his picture. The trail snakes along a creek along the eastern most part of Glen Oak Park



and ends up at a very remote lower entrance to Springdale Cemetery at the end of Perry Street. (Was looking on Name This Peoria Landmark for a photo of a rundown building there to no avail.) However, I noticed this:



and wondered where this old dilapidated sidewalk went. To the right, the trail continues. To the left, a trail goes up to the park:



And this old sidewalk straight ahead. I found out along the way some more amazing things. First, the sidewalk hasn’t been maintained in years.





And in some places doesn’t exist at all.



However, following the trail produces some nice scenery.



And things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....."



Eventually, you see another trail off to your left

before you see this old bridge.



I’ll get back to this. The bridge crosses a creek and goes down a few steps



to a service road that is right off of Perry. Now I'm presented with a quandry as to take the service road or the sidewalk I've been following.



Check out the service road first. Obviously, the service road appears to go somewhere as in parts it almost looks as good as the street I live on. It ends up behind where the new zoo is being built at a big, black fence.



So, I go back and decide to keep following the sidewalk. First neat thing to appear...a stone retaining wall of some sort:



Unfortunately, due to a flaw in nature, the little stream



has gone off course and has made the sidewalk its new creek bed.



Upon observation, a shovel or two plus some large cement pavers could rectify this issue. After pretending I was in a Floridian swamp, I came upon these three structures:



One I have no clue and two are bridges over the “wild” creek. Upon crossing the first bridge, I am presented with a hiking situation: A “W” in the path. To the right another bridge



that appears to go up a hill terraced with old railroad ties:



The middle has a bit of cement that could have been a sidewalk at one time, but appears to be mostly dirt and mud. When you follow the trail to the left, it meets with another trail and you end up at the aforementioned trail that meanders off to the left, right before the first picture of bridges. Coming back I’m faced with a “Y”. I came from the right side of the “Y”, so I thought I’d go back on the left. It ends up higher on the bluff and the middle fork of the “W” eventually ends up here. The middle fork looks to be a short cut. At this point, there looks to have been a metal sign post...maybe pointing out directions?



In case you are wondering, I’m still finding evidence that I’m still on what used to be an old sidewalk. I follow this up the hill a bit and am presented with a “Y”. I take the one on the right as it follows the creek up on the edge of a bluff. At the end, it is really steep and I realize that both trails end up here:



Yes, the back side to the old suspension bridge in Glen Oak Park and this brand new big black fence.



Not as exciting as what I hoped I’d find, I follow the road in the other direction.



Eww.

I ended up here:



which is the road that starts by the tennis courts in lower GOP. At this point, I head back and find the trail I came up so I could go back down to the second bridge and up the terraced path. After crossing the bridge, I notice this:



and think two things: Either it is a misplaced tombstone from nearby Springdale or when Dingy is caught and prosecuted for all his or her blue spray painting (there was some on the second bridge, too) I hope DuPont donates about 500 gallons of neon blue epoxy paint so Dingy gets a fire hose powered blue enema as punishment. Anyway, I once again found lost the lost cement sidewalk which leads to the left. I decide to climb the terracing and am met with the big black fence. I go back down and follow the cement and newish looking wood foot bridge



to discover this:



and this:



Rounding the corner I find several sets of stairs







and end up at, you guessed it: The big black fence. I go about 1/3 of the way down and notice another trail:



And some pretty nice scenery:



However, it ends up at the service road and that big, black fence. I hear thunder and make my way back.

A couple of thoughts.

After encountering the big black fence (which I believe is surrounding the new zoo) on many occasions, this came to mind:



Gas is expensive. Need an outing for the day: this was about a 3 hour adventure. I started out on a bike, but ended up pushing it most of the way plus taking pictures probably slowed me down. However, there were several trails that didn’t seem to be paved at one time or another so I ignored them. So, you might be able to kill an afternoon here. I’d recommend bug spray and no bike.

Next is why couldn’t the trail and service road become part of the Rock Island Trail instead of the Kellar branch? The Pimiteoui trail ends at Woodruff Park at the start of Abington Street and then run it past the new zoo somehow and out to Prospect. The climb on the service road wasn't as trying as going up through Springdale. I’ve ridden my bike on Prospect many times without issue as it has wide lanes.

All in all an eventful morning and I am planning to go back and hit some of the lesser trails. I’m sure they all end up in Glen Oak or Springdale, but it beats the hell out of doinking around on My Space.

My Version of Lent

Its Memorial Day (or close enought to be counted). Every year from Memorial Day to Labor Day I make it a point to only eat at locally owned establishments. In other words, I don't eat at chain restaurants for 90 days. Actually, I rarely eat at chain restaurants, anyway, but my weakness is Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

So, join with me for the next 90 days and check out all the wonderful little (or big) places that are independently owned. Maybe you'll find a new favorite!

See you around the little guy's table....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rocke's closing?

Heard from a reliable source that Rocke's Meating Haus in Morton is closing its retail side of its business. They will retain the manufacturing of their grocery store "heat and eat" meals that are distributed nationwide. Apparently, you still can call or e-mail a request for their hams and brats.

I remember as a child it was always a treat to go to Rocke's. The huge deli, the awesome displays of meat and the HUGE wine barrel room that housed the wine section.

One for the Blogfather

A studio session of Scarlett Johansson recording her new album: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20200889,00.html

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I FINALLY Figured It Out.

I've always accused those chefs who compete in Top Chef, Iron Chef, the Next Food TV Star, etc. and\or have multiple cooking shows of doing it for the money instead of the love of cooking.

I was wrong. (But I'm sure they aren't doing it for free.)

I must be slow....guess I've inhaled too many deep fryer oil fumes over the years.

But now I get it. It isn't what they ARE doing, it is what they ARE NOT doing......

psdgvsgblasd[-0cv4-poksdf[pd[]pfgzbv faj,opkpofpmoz (That was me banging my head on my keyboard)

Stupid me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mikey's Pizza

Mikey's (or is it Mikie's) Pizza is a new little joint at the corner of Forrest Hill and Gale....3110 to be exact. That corner used to be a Peoria Landmark as it was home to Velvet Freeze for many, many years. Mikey's is at the end of that mini strip mall.

My D.A. and I got there at a little before 7 PM tonight (Wed.) and were the only people in the place. There were several carry out orders while we were there. There are about a dozen tables in a non descript dining room and the ordering counter is near the back. The menu offers different sub sandwiches, calzones and pizzas. My D.A. and I decided on the night's special: a large regular crust pizza with choice of three toppings for $9.95. We picked pepperoni, mushrooms and bacon from a list of about 15-18 items. They also have a stuffed pizza. About 15 or so minutes later, the 16" pizza arrived. Now this may offend some, but it wasn't blazing hot. It was hot, but not "burn the hell out of the top of your mouth\scald your chin with cheese" hot. The crust's edge was golden brown and tasted like it had been brushed with a garlic flavored oil or butter while baking. Not a lot of sauce or cheese, but a LOT of toppings! The mushrooms were falling off with every bite. Slightly chewy crust.

With soda we were out for under $15 with lunch for tomorrow. Speaking of lunch, there is a sign in the window promoting a $5.95 lunch special. If I lived closer, this would be a semi frequent stop for me for as a take out joint.

See You Around The Table.....