Our View for Six Nights in Hell’s Kitchen

Hell's Kitchen!

Please enjoy this evening view from our NYC hotel where we’re staying for this year’s family vacation, on a one-lane street a few blocks southwest of Times Square, a few blocks north of the Port Authority, and inside the boundaries of Hell’s Kitchen, the neighborhood famous for having a Gordon Ramsey show named after it and for going down the tubes every time Matt Murdock is too busy recuperating from fatal wounds or being Elektra’s lapdog to come save the day. A coworker back in Indiana who once worked on Broadway for years recommended this hotel, and when we get home I have questions for him.

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Live Under a Blood Red Speck

Super Blood Moon!

10:51 pm.. EDT — See that tiny, funny-colored dot at upper right? That’s no space station.

No, the above photo was not necessarily my best attempt at capturing the soul of tonight’s much-ballyhooed “super blood moon” very special astronomical event, but it’s the first one I took when I discovered my Canon PowerShot ELPH 340 HS has a setting called “Handheld NightScene”. The moon is visible in that shot, but wasn’t for long. Here in Indianapolis we’ve been under cloud cover all weekend long, and they refused to let up even for something as unusual as a lunar eclipse, let alone an oddly hued one. I’d describe this as “once in a blue moon”, but I’m not sure which moon color is rarer and I’d rather not spark any sky-science semantics squabbles over this.

I didn’t take the greatest SuperBloodMoon photos of all time, but at the very least, the pics leading up to the feature presentation were the best moon pics I’ve ever taken in my life. For a thoroughly amateur photographer, I’ll take that little victory.

Here’s the best takes on what we saw before the clouds solidified the gaps between each other and ruined an otherwise cool evening. All time stamps are Eastern Daylight Time, and for once I’ve resisted the urge to crop or resize any of them.

Right this way for the light of the silvery moon! Featuring cameos by the color red!

Nighttime in Rosemont Between the Panels

Nighttime in Rosemont.

Pictured: the view from our hotel room at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, IL, during the weekend of this year’s Wizard World Chicago. It’s nestled next to I-190 and minutes away from the large, famous airport you may have heard name-checked in all the headline news today. Between the airport traffic and the stream of endless events at the Stephens Center, Rosemont is a sparkly yet reserved town, wired for entertainment and insomnia.

Most convention attendees spend their evenings indulging in the after-dark events such as film screenings or NSFW panels, networking, fraternizing, carousing, generally partying to the break of dawn. Meanwhile for us sensible, old-time squares, nighttime is our signal to retreat from the hubbub, skip all the alcohol that everyone else cherishes, settle into the plush confines of our accommodations, exploit all the amenities that don’t incur surprise room charges, and recharge all manner of batteries.

I took this shot on a whim while standing between the curtain panels and the windows, letting the cooler air near the glass creep around me and waft away the day’s tensions, worries, and cumulative physical strains. It was an oasis of momentary serenity in a bustling, bristling weekend.

Then my wife turned on the TV. Because all those basic-cable channels weren’t gonna inventory themselves. Meditative tranquility gave way to the screeching cacophony of a thousand know-it-all talking heads, upon whom I wished immediate whooping cough.

I’m revisiting this moment (the sedate part, not the screeching part) during a week when multi-tasking has stretched me thin, morale has been shakier than usual, and feedback signals of doubt and indifference have obscured my concentration. I could use another few minutes like these to stare through the dark horizons, seek the pinpoints of light, pause for an ethereal refresher, and remind myself of the dawns yet to come, the brighter lights ahead, and the promises behind why we do what we do.

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