Archive for the 'Illinois' Category

The Best Farm to Live On?

I have been doing a lot of driving around the Midwest over the last two weeks on my way to interviews, which I may or may not blog about soon.  My favorite thing to look at while driving (ooh wait, sorry, SECOND favorite after lakes!) is wind farms!  They are so pretty!  I know some people complain about them and actually think they are ugly because they seem so strange in the farmland, but I think they’re great.

Did you know that Iowa is #2 for having the most wind power installed in a state?  I haven’t seen any wind farms in Iowa; I think maybe they’re in the N/NW part of the state.


Wind farm in Iowa. Pretty, no?

Wind farm in Hancock County

Wind farm in Hancock County

I did see wind farms in Illinois on my trip.  Illinois is ranked #10 in most wind power.


Wind farm in Illinois


Another wind farm in IL

What a good, CLEAN way to get energy!  Way to go, Midwest!  It’s nice to know your boring flatness is good for something.  🙂

– Jill

Report on the Harry Potter Exhibit in Chicago

As I said in the previous post, I just moved back to Iowa after living in the Chicago suburbs for a year and a half.  So what did I do during my first weekend back in Iowa………….I went back to Chicago of course!!!

I went to say one last goodbye to my co-workers (full of lots of tears) and also to go to the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.  Abby and I bought our tickets ages ago, so I wasn’t going to miss this no matter how tired I was from moving.

Well, the one really disappointing part of the exhibit was that I was not allowed to take pictures.  I had a mini hissy fit when I saw the giant sign proclaiming that there was no photography.  I had promised a lot of people (including my fellow nerdgirls) that I would take pictures so that they could see what it was like, but alas, I failed them.  I honestly can’t think of any reason why we weren’t allowed to take photos except that they wanted to move us through the exhibit pretty fast.  Here is a site that does have a lot of pictures because Leaky is special and can do whatever they want.  There is also a very detailed description of the exhibit here.

After that tremendous downfall, I really did enjoy the exhibit.  The beginning part is pretty cheesy, so be prepared.  All of the staff members talk in varying degrees of fake British accents and give somewhat painful pep talks to the crowds waiting to cram inside.  But after the initial cheesiness, the awesomeness begins.

The only pic we could take because it was outside the exhibit.

The only pic we could take because it was outside the exhibit.

You are ushered into a room with video screens that show clips from all six movies (that’s right, I said six).  The montages are great and the music swells at just the right time and it totally gave me goosebumps.  Then the doors fly open and you are standing right in front of the Hogwarts Express.  That’s when I knew that I was going to be in for something great.

The exhibit itself is very “look but don’t touch,” but that was fine by me.  It is composed of costumes and props from all of the movies.  Some of the highlights include Yule Ball attire of all the major characters (hello screaming Twilight fans!), Ron’s trunk from school, Kreacher, Buckbeak, Umbridge’s office, and Oliver Wood’s quidditch robes (oh how I miss him).  There were three interactive parts of the tour.  You could shoot a quaffle, pull up a screaming mandrake, or sit in Hagrid’s chair (very uncomfortable).

I loved looking at all of the different props, but especially the costumes.  It was just really cool thinking that I was standing feet away from something that Alan Rickman or Emma Thompson had worn.  And yes, I know that makes me a giant nerd, but I don’t care.

I would recommend going to the exhibit for anyone who loves the movies because the rest of the museum is so awesome that it is completely worth the price of the ticket.  The exhibit doesn’t take very long, but make sure you allow a whole day to explore the rest of the museum.  But I will say that the exhibit is ONLY about the movies…….if someone is a fan of the books and hasn’t seen the movies, it probably wouldn’t mean much to them.

So if you are going to be in Chicago from now to September you should go and check it out.  We bought our tickets way early, but they were still selling tickets for it that morning, so I don’t think you have to worry about it selling out.


Illinois Laughs in the Face of the Scientific Community

pluto-planetI was very very sad when Pluto was demoted from being a planet.  It has always been my favorite of all the planets (being the smallest and the cutest of course) so when I heard it was no longer one of the original nine I was mad at all the scientists.  I imagined them sitting in their big lecture halls coming up with ridiculous new things they could announce that would make people pay attention to them, all the while laughing their “evil plan laughs”  mwahh hahhhh hahhhhh.  (No offense to any scientists who read this blog……I love you Lindsay!!!)

Well, that was over two years ago, and I have comes to terms with the fact that “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” will no longer help me remember all of the planets with all the new dwarf ones floating around out there.  I am currently weeding our science collection at work and getting rid of all the space books that focus heavily on the makeup of the solar system that were published pre-Pluto’s demotion.

Well……..them Illinois had to go and declare that Pluto is STILL A PLANET……..if only in the state of Illinois…………what??

I’m sorry, but with all the problems that are happening in Illinois right now (thank you governor with a name I can’t spell) not to mention what is happening in the rest of the country, the Illinois Senate is wasting their time on THIS!!!!  Not a wise move guys……….it kind of makes you look like idiots (as evidenced by the tone of this article in Scientific American) and it will only confuse the poor students and teachers (not to mention librarians) of this great state.

Yes, I was sad when Pluto’s status of planet was harshly taken away, but I am going to have to agree with the scientists on this one.  When people, especially politicians, try to mess with scientists, they just end up looking stupid.

Anyway, rant complete.  I’ve got to figure out what I am going to do with all the space books now.  Ugh.


MEG CABOT IS OUR BFF! in our heads…

Nerdgirltalking + Meg Cabot forever

Nerdgirltalking + Meg Cabot forever

More details to come once we stop screaming and calm down….

but cha cha check this out: MEG CABOT KNOWS OUR NAMES

love, us.

Canis Iatrans

So I am innocently driving to work today and I see this crossing the road:

Of all the things to worry about when living in suburban Chicago (murderers, rapists, thieves, scary drivers, high gas prices, and iffy neighbors) now I have to avoid getting eaten alive by coyotes while I am walking in from the parking lot.

I do hope he was okay and managed to avoid the traffic/hunters/train tracks he was headed towards.


Is it May yet???

On Thursday, it was 59 degrees as I drove home from work, windows down, hair flying in the breeze. I opened up my sliding door and let my cats square off with the squirrels on the other side.

Then Friday happened…………………………….it was one of those ‘snowing-the-entire-time-I-am-at-work-can-barely-get-out-of-the-parking lot-because-the-snow-is-too-high’ type of days. Ugh……….I thought they were long gone. I almost forgot how to use my scraper to clean off my car because I told my mind I wouldn’t need that knowledge again until NEXT winter, since it is officially spring now.

But at least it was warm yesterday and most of it melted. It also caused things to look really pretty, so I decided to document it, since I hear there was no snow in Iowa on Friday.

The poor little plants sprouting up outside my window are not looking so good anymore after being doused with so much snow. Hopefully they will pull through.


Signs of Spring

I was so pleased this weekend to look out my sliding door and see, just beyond my porch, this gorgeous sight:

If you can ignore the repulsive wet leaves, and icky snow/ice combo, the little shoots peeking through the ground are a beautiful sight to see. I have no idea what kind of flower that is, maybe tulips?? Anything that poked up from the ground in Iowa was always a tulip, maybe it is the same way here. Either way it is awesome.

Now that I really look at it, the snow kind of looks like cookies and cream ice cream………..yummy.