ShaneHalbach.com

Posts tagged “Chicago

Where’s Waldo

So, at work they take the Halloween costume contest *pretty* seriously. This year, our office decided to go all in, and went full on Where’s Waldo mode in downtown Chicago.

If you want to play along, you can download a hi-res version of the photo here, and you can see the full cast of characters to look for here (and if you really can’t find one of us, you can find the cheat-sheet here).

I will tell you that I am a bit difficult to find, but not because I found a particularly sneaky place to hide. It happened to be VERY WINDY that day, so at the time the picture was taken my cape was about 6 feet over my head, my beard was covering my face, and I was laughing like a lunatic.

See, the thing is, we had to take this picture about a week before Halloween. While I’m sure it would have been awkward walking around the streets of Chicago in a wizard costume on Halloween, it certainly added a little something to be doing it NOT on Halloween. It was all “Ha ha, look at that guy dressed like a wizard!” on the way across the bridge, but suddenly it turns into “AAAHHHH WTF” when someone comes around the corner and discovers a random wizard with his beard up his nose laughing like a lunatic. At least one person saw me, turned around, and noped on out of there.

In fact, the day of the photo shoot I had just gotten into my costume when I realized I had a web-meeting with people in California. “Uh, why are you dressed like a wizard?” one of the guys said when I sat down. “Casual Monday,” I replied, and it was never brought up again for the rest of the meeting.

I guess they really have gotten to know me around the office.


Evelyn to appear on stage in Billy Elliot!

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As some of you have noticed here or there, Evelyn is currently in the middle of rehearsals for her upcoming role in Billy Elliot!

For those of you not familiar with Billy Elliot:

Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dreams come true. The story follows Billy’s journey as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.

Featuring a timeless score by Elton John, sensational dance and a powerful story that has captivated audiences around the world, Billy Elliot the Musical is a funny, uplifting and spectacular theatrical experience that will stay with you forever.

This role is quite a bit different than anything she’s done before, and is by far the most physically demanding (dance, dance, dance!), but she is having the time of her life, and the show is going to be really, really good.

The show runs the last two weekends in October and the first weekend in November, and tickets are on sale now ($22 if you buy before October 1st).

Two things I do want to mention, for all of Evelyn’s loyal supporters:

  1. The show is aaaaall the way up at Northbrook Theatre, just to forewarn you, and
  2. Those of you with small kids, I just want to make sure you notice this warning:

Note: Billy Elliot contains material that may be unsuitable for younger or more sensitive audience members, but please note that we have made every effort to remove the most offensive language, as permitted.

The show is pretty foul-mouthed, so if that’s not something you want to subject your little ones to, feel free to sit this one out and catch the next one (or make it a date night!)

However, if you do decide to make the trek up north, this is one Ballet Girl that is excited to see you!

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Learn from my mistake — Chicago now just trying to trick you for money

I got a ticket in the mail the other day for expired plates. “Are our plates expired?” Sara asked me. I literally had to go outside and check. Yup, sure enough, they were. I guess maybe the city’s vast network of surveillance cameras just scans for expired plates and sends tickets? I don’t know.

“So, did we like, just ignore their warnings? How did this happen?” Well, it turns out that the city decided to stop sending notifications last November as a “cost saving measure”. More like a revenue generating measure, amiright?

I guess this $60 ticket was our notification.

I have no problem paying for my registration. Happy to do it. Only the government can get away with not asking you for money, then fining you for not paying the money that they didn’t ask you for.

Of course, there was also a $20 fee for late registration as well as “convenience fees” both for paying the ticket AND paying the registration.

If someone is not paying, or ignoring your notices or something, fine, send them a ticket. But if you penalize people on a technicality, people who are actively trying to do the right thing, then don’t pretend you’re all above board.

Only the government can get away with b.s. like this. I mean, if the stamp to send the notification is just costing you sooo much money, tack the $0.49 on to the registration fee.

Governments should not be shady.


The Post Office Strikes Again

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There are few things more terrifying (and more commonplace at our house) than the dreaded “WE CARE” note from the USPS:

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“We’re really sorry that we absolutely mangled yet another piece of your mail, but you understand that it’s really necessary in order to allow us to provide the most expeditious distribution possible. Better on time than in one piece we always say!”

At least it wasn’t fragile like the last one (less than a month ago, I might add).

I guess the post office must be hurting for money, because they’ve decided they can only deliver 60% of our mail. That’s okay, I guess, except I do take a little issue with how they’ve decided to implement the policy…

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Needless to say Santa isn’t really thrilled with his handling either.

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Oooh, I get it: it’s a fill in the blank! Anybody have a guess as to what kind of card Tony meant to send us?

A) “&@*#” Everything
B) “You Are My” Everything
C) “Man I Trust the USPS With” Everything
D) “I, Tony, Being of Sound Mind and Body, Am Leaving You” Everything

(Knowing Tony, it was most likely A)


The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Shazam! Come check out Evelyn as troublemaker Gladys Herdman at Provision Theater, playing November 28 – December 20!

Based on the book by Barbara Robinson

When the Herdmans (the nastiest kids in the neighborhood) decide they want to be in this year’s Christmas pageant, everyone is sure it will be a disaster. But when the curtain finally goes up, a miracle happens—making it the best ever! This hilarious and heartwarming comedy, filled with singing and music, makes a firm statement about the transformative power of the holiday season—not to mention the transformative power of theatre.

Performances are Saturdays at 3pm & 7pm and Sundays at 3pm; special matinee performances will be on 12/2, 12/9, and 12/16 at 10am.

Tickets are cheap and the show is hilarious (and family friendly!). Evelyn is having a great time and I promise you will too.


I have officially gone full on Mr. Rogers

Now that it’s snow season here in Chicago, I am officially to the point that I’m leaving a sweater and comfortable shoes to change into in the office.

Getting old is kind of funny. I mean, I didn’t set out to be this way, it just happened. I wear boots to walk the kids to school, but I don’t want to wear them all day. I get cold, I need a sweater.

On the other hand, one of the best parts about being an adult is that I don’t have to put up with anything. If I’m cold I don’t have to do some macho crap about wearing shorts in the winter to prove how tough I am, I just put on a sweatshirt.

Anyway, this was just all a long way to say that right now I am wearing slippers at work, and that’s called “winning”.


Something Seems Fishy…

When I was walking the kids to school this morning, I passed a notice pasted on a light pole. It’s not super common to have notices in my neighborhood, so I was curious, and I went to read it. It was for an archery tournament / costume carnival in our neighborhood.

Archery tournament / costume carnival? In my neighborhood? That sounds extremely improbable, but also awfully familiar…

I got out a pen to write “ROBIN DON’T GO THE SHERIFF IS PLANNING A TRAP”, but unfortunately the event already took place. No word on if there were any stork costumes or amazing arrow-splitting shots. Good luck, buddy, hope you made it out alive.