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Rebecca & Dale

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The House on the Rock

Click on photos to enlarge them.

The House on the Rock is the weirdest place I have ever been. And I lived in Flint. And Detroit. As much as I love Dale’s photos, I don’t think you can truly experience The House on the Rock in pictures. It doesn’t pick up the dank smells and low ceiling of the main house or the bizarre dark clutter of the warehouses that keep the various collections.

Strange sculptures greet you as you drive along the entry road.
Inside the house, the rooms are dark and low and filled with strange vaguely Asian treasures. Legend has it that the architect–Alex Jordan–was insulted by Frank Lloyd Wright and decided to build a monument to himself just up the road from Wright’s own home, Taliesin.
An indoor fountain with Asian sculptures.
The key feature of the house is the Infinity Room. It narrows to a point, creating a strange forced perspective. Light floods in on all sides (unlike the vast majority of the rest of the house).
There is also a glass bottom section of the Infinity Room that is pretty freaky!
Another strange sculpture in the house!
A backlit wall, a “Tiffany” lamp; and an inlaid chest. The House used to claim the most Tiffany lamps in one place. However, it turns out they have the most Tiffany knock-offs made by a Chicago company in existence. That’s the thing about the House. Most everything is a trick. They used to make all kinds of claims but now they simply don’t mark anything so you just never know what you’re looking at, not really.
A sitting area in the house.

From the house, visitors exit and walk through a garden to the first of several warehouses that house a nearly endless number of collections. One of the first includes a showcase of Faberge eggs. I have no idea if they’re real but they were fancy!

By far the most amazing thing in the house are the large music machines. This is The Mikado (I think). Anyway, you drop in two coins and it plays. Some elements are recorded and other elements happen live. The entire thing moves (and multiple bows draw across stringed instruments). It’s all kinds of weird but also whimsical. I like them even if they were fakes.

In the nautical room, there is a 200 foot whale with a boat in his mouth who happens to be wrestling a giant squid. The room is filled with small version of famous ships.

Another music machines. Rumor has it that the son of the original architect’s house created these as a way to drum up tourist business. He apparently loved to create these elaborate contraptions.

The Blue Danube Music Machine.

Finally, at the end of the second section a strange hallway takes you to what they describe as the World’s Largest Carousel. I prefer to think of it as the inspiration for the color scheme of the movie Moulin Rouge. It’s the closest I have ever come to being inside that movie. And I loved it.

The carousel is all strange, mythical creatures, spinning wildly. Nobody gets to ride it, which is a tragedy.

Another room–the Organ Room–is filled with invented electrical machines that are wildly and absurdly elaborate.

Another elaborately constructed organ.

In the weapons collection room there is a fake female leg with a gun hidden in it!

These photos represent approx. 1/5 of the display rooms. Seriously, it’s bananas. And there is a giant cannon on your way out! Bananas.


A New Cock!

So Dale saw this huge rooster–he calls it his cock–and had to have it. Needless to say many inappropriate jokes have filled my day today!

It’s flippin’ huge and sort of hideous but he loved it so much he decided he couldn’t live without it. So now it sits proudly on top of the refrigerator! In fact, Dale went on and on about how he loves how “proud” it is! Hee!


Merry Christmas…from the kitties!

Merry Christmas from Monty!
(From the looks of this photo Monty, as Dale tells me, wishes I’d just left him on the street where I found him).

Merry Christmas from Bela!
(Bela is not amused by the headgear, either, but has known me long enough to just barely tolerate such silliness).

Merry Christmas from Sidney!
(Sidney, frankly, couldn’t have cared less about his headgear–he just wanted me to keep rubbing his ears).

The last photo is my fave and each one so perfectly encapsulates their littler personalities that it just cracks me up!


A Guinness World Records attempt in Oak Park!

Last Saturday Dale and I went to lunch in the midst of an attempt to break the Guinness World’s Record for the largest mass doggie wedding! It was a charity event for the Oak Park Animal Care League. We saw lots of adorable puppies and their nutty families.

This little dude was Dale’s favorite–he loved the hat! He loved the nose and the ears. He loved it all.

This gentleman was in line holding a friend’s dog. He told Dale that he’d always felt secure in his manhood–until he found himself holding somebody else’s tiny puppy so that the puppy could get married.

This little couple was in hot demand! They had their own customized stroller. It was quite chilly and lots of puppies were suffering from the cold and snuggling up to each other and to their owners. These two had it made!

Many others simply opted to dress for the weather…

As opposed to just dressing for the occasion as these two did.
This big guy wasn’t playing games–he had a hat and a scarf! Amusingly, his hat fell over one eye and he kept tipping his head to move the hat and it looked like he was nodding his head to everyone that walked by!

This little one–Mia!–was the star of the show. She was propped atop a heavily decorated shopping cart and even had her own theme music blasting. The nutty owner even wore heart-shaped, rose-tinted glasses. Amazing!

We didn’t stay for the whole thing but Dale had so much fun shooting the doggies that he’s put up a gallery. Click here to check out Dale’s complete gallery!

I think my favorite thing about this event–aside from my genuine love of absurdity–was how much the owners obviously loved their pets. My favorite moments–and photos in the gallery–show the humans looking at the dogs with love and pride. The folks that came out saw the humor in the situation but were also eager to show their pupper off as a great dog. Sadly, no records were broken but I’m guessing lots of dog bladders were tested!


The Red Ball Project

The public art “Red Ball Project” made its way through Chicago last month. It stopped just two blocks from where I work on its last day in town. It was wedged in odd places all month and, finally, it ended up wedged above the entryway at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Directly above my head!

It’s a large soft vinyl ball that encourages interaction. You can touch it (although no punching because it was wedged near some windows). It was sponsored by Target (since they love large red balls, per their logo and store renovations in the Chicago area).

It’s an unusual piece of art and, frankly, I don’t even know why I liked it so much. But I did! I really found myself charmed by its odd placement and general happy redness!

At 5 p.m.–just after work!–I walked back to the site to watch them take it down. That was pretty neat. They put a pump on it and let it drain. It got stuck and then quite unexpectedly–the artist thought it was stuck and was going to start taking more air out of it–plopped to the ground floor. That was fun.

A team of volunteers ran up and started to deflate it. I left before it was deflated. But it was a fun workday diversion, for sure!


Shoe Sale!

Dale was walking downtown when he spotted this odd little vehicle promoting a shoe sale at Marshalls.
Needless to say, I am SORRY I didn’t see this in person. Dale is lucky because his area of downtown Chicago always has weird stuff going on! I want to drive this weird motorcycle thing! How fabulous is it? X-posted to my other blog because, well, it’s odd.



So Dale and I went for a nice long walk on Saturday at Northerly Island, which is located right next to Adler Planetarium. It turns out Saturday at Adler is a prime spot for Bride Spotting! Bridal parties arrive every five minutes on Saturdays in order to take photos with the city skyline behind them. These were the ones we saw in the half hour we were there! Above is a princess dress with gold lame accents!

The sleek city bride with another bride in the background! Double shot.

Bright baby blue bridesmaids and groomsmen wait for the bride and groom behind them.

Fancy pink puffy dress! Check out the skyline!

Another city sleek! This one with bright pink bridesmaids!

Fancy strapless number with teal bridesmaids.

Pretty bride with pseudo-military groom!

Bold choice in the seafoam green wedding dress with white bridesmaid’s dresses! I like it because it’s sort of a wacky throwback style. And I just like bold, wacky choices!

It got so crazy that you could actually hear the people hanging out along the shore hollering, “OMG! Look, there’s another bride! And another one!”

It was dorky fun!


3D Experiment!

When we went to the National Stereoscopic Association’s trade fair a couple of weeks back Dale picked up a couple of photography magazines that gave him pointers on how to create 3D images using his digital camera on a tripod and a couple of tricks in Photoshop!

Coincidentally, TV Guide and Wal-Mart have teamed up to give out 3D glasses THIS WEEKEND! So if you’re at a Wal-Mart this weekend–or anywhere that sells TV Guide–pick up your glasses and check out these images! Can you believe we got such big corporate tie-ins!? Okay, Miley Cyrus’s big 3D concert on TV tonight also helped.

Feel free to click on the photos to make them bigger…

This is the fence in front of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in our neighborhood.

This is the cat’s scratching post–strategically placed by Dale to provide depth in relation to our TV and chair!

This is the plant that sits in front of the window in our living room. Ooh, you could reach out and touch it.

And this is the bust of Frank Lloyd Wright that sits at the edge of the park near our house. Ghostly in 3D, in my opinion.

If you somehow miss all the 3D giveaways this week, feel free to check out the Rainbow Symphony store where you can get FREE 3D glasses by sending them a self-addressed stamped envelope! Click here. I don’t know how legitimate this website is but I’m guessing nothing bad will come from sending a SASE to a random company?

And just because we’re nerdy? Check out images from Nasa in 3D by clicking here!


Cloud Cover in Chicago

Dale promised his dad we’d post a picture of the odd cloud cover that sometimes comes in from the lake and hangs low over the city. This isn’t the best picture but it was the best I could do while sitting in the passenger seat last weekend. That’s the Sears Tower with the middle third obscured by foggy cloud mass thingy.
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The FURminator…

So we have a cat hair problem. With three kitties–and two that shed like mad–it’s no wonder we’ve been considering buying a ROOMBA just to vacuum while we’re at work!

I was at Petco and found a cheaper alternative…The FURminator! It’s a cat brush that takes care of business! It’s guaranteed to cut down on shedding and hairballs–needless to say we were intrigued. It’s expensive at $40 but it’s cheaper than a ROOMBA, you know?

Anyway, check out the DISGUSTINGLY huge pile of hair at sitting next to Bela and Monty as they get a second round of FURmination from Dale! That’s one tightly-packed fur ball!

It’s easily pulling out fives times the amount of hair a traditional brush would–and Bela seems to really like it!

Since getting the FURminator (seriously, that’s its name) yesterday, Dale estimates that we have ganked about 10 to 12 tribbles‘ worth of out of our three cats!

I wish I had taken a video of Dale’s first round of Bela being FURminated! So much fur came off it looked like Dale was shaving him down. If you check out the FURminator website, those pictures of actual hair pulled from pets is not a joke! Day two we pulled nearly as much off Bela as on day one!

Oh, and this is my FIRST video post! Exciting!