I just returned home from a trip to Chicago for the 2012 yt workshop. I didn't organize the meeting, but I did give a few talks. I think overall it was a very productive and useful workshop, and I met quite a few people who I had previously only corresponded with over the internet.
I found the Chicago "L" pretty useful, although it's not quite as nice as the New York Subway. Being overground most of the time, it's possible to view the neighborhoods it goes through (which is one benefit it has over a subway). Chicago, and especially South Chicago, is in a state of decay that I rarely see in western cities. Of course it's been going on for decades: the city has lost nearly 1 million people since 1950, but it's interesting (and sad) to see blocks where only a few buildings are standing, where dozens used to be in a vibrant neighborhood.
For fun, I decided to build a plastic 1/20 model of a F1 Mclaren MP4/5B, which raced in 1990. That year it won the constructor's championship, and Senna won the world championship in it. Here are some pictures of my model. I didn't do the best job on it, but that's OK. It was fun to do!
Melissa helped by painting the "HONDA" on the engine, above. Very tiny letters! As usual, clicking on an image will give you an enlarged version.
On New Year's Eve, we went on a hike in Arapaho National Forest with our friend Chris and some of his family.
He brought along his dog Leo (the tan Lab-Pit Bull mix), and his aunt brought hers (Hershel, black Lab-Weimaraner).
It was pretty windy at spots which made it feel colder than it actually was. I figured that where we turned around, at the top, it was in the low teens Fahrenheit with the wind chill.
On the way down we were all getting tired and hungry, so to keep the dogs moving at our pace (instead of smelling this, peeing on that, wandering over there), we picked up a big branch and used it as a carrot. Dogs help make things fun!