Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Photo: The Old and The New

From Delaware St. near Market St.
Have a Happy Holidays everybody! See you after the New Year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Photo: Market Street

On Market Street between Pennsylvania and Delaware. Click here to see the context of this building's facade.
I must protect my family from the sun!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Photos: Bank One Lives On

J.P. Morgan Chase bought Bank One more than four years ago but a vestige of Bank One's time in Indy is still visible on top of the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown. I've seen this sign from my dentist's 17th floor office in downtown but I never knew it was visible from street level until I was on Market Street between Pennsylvania and Delaware this weekend. I've got a collection of photos from that area that I hope to post at some point in the near future.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I take the train to work.

For institutional researchers, you generally have to live and die by federal research grants. Unfortunately, the success rate on receiving those grants is not very good, so funding on-going research can be a crapshoot. Such was my experience, having found out recently that funding for my position in an IUPUI lab was going to lapse at the end of December.

Luckily, I was able to find a new job relatively quickly in a lab at Methodist Hospital. My first day will be next Monday and I'm very excited! I'm also a little melancholy to be leaving my comfy old lab position that I've held for a little over six years. On the bright side, the new position is a great opportunity to expand my skills set and build connections for the future. In a sexy twist, though, it also provides me with the opportunity to say something that not many people in Indianapolis can say:

I take the train to work.

Given that I live on the canal, I can just walk a couple blocks up the canal, get on the People Mover and take it to my new job at Methodist. Or I can hop on my bike and ride some relatively bike-friendly roads, St. Clair St. and Senate Ave., from my apartment to Methodist. Or I could walk there (about a mile). Or -- heaven forbid! -- I could just drive my car. By far, though, the coolest option is walking to the People Mover and riding it to Methodist.

PhotobucketThe Clarian People Mover pulling into the Methodist Hospital Station.

Wish me luck in my new job!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Apologies for the lack of posts around here. In case you missed it below, I did buy a new camera to take pictures -- you'd think I would have gotten more posts up here recently! Unfortunately, the crappy weather, personal travel and the lack of new projects have conspired to keep me from going out and taking pictures. Once I get out and about, here are some things I'm hoping to get updates on:

The Cosmopolitan
Riley Hospital Tower
The Waverley (this one's been done for a while, but I never got a final set of photos)

In the mean time, check out the cool photographs Mr. Heidelberger is capturing over at his relatively new blog, The Heidelberger Papers, as well as The Urbanophile's new project, Naptown Observer.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Photos: Taste of Tango Update

My wife and I were on our way to one of the newest "best kept secrets in downtown" -- Adobo Grill's half-priced margaritas and $1 tacos for Thursday happy hour -- and walked past the on-going work at Taste of Tango. You may remember that this restaurant was originally slated to open over a year ago and was delayed and delayed and then put on hold while the owner financed other projects. Well, finally, it appears that the restaurant is very much back on. Cory over at Property Lines noticed a sign a month ago indicating "Now Hiring."
Yesterday, we also noticed an orange liquor license application in the window (click to see the details -- it's a beer and wine license dated 10/31/08):
It was dark last night so I couldn't take any pictures of the exterior. It hasn't really changed, anyway, so here are some shots I took last fall/winter:

Yes, my new camera has arrived! The pictures of the signs were taken with it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Camera

I ordered a new camera over the weekend that should probably be here by the end of the week. Thank god. I've been limping along with photos from my cell phone that are looking worse and worse, so no more of that garbage. I expect photo posts to return next week and I'll probably have a review of the camera after I've put it through the paces.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Photo: Walking to Work

Here's the nicest part of my walk to work, a tree canopied sidewalk between Indiana Ave. and North St. near the Sigma Theta Tau Building (Honor Society of Nursing):
PhotobucketI'm also happy to report that despite some finger-numbing mornings and rapidly falling gas prices, I walked to work every day this week. I don't think I've done that since my Bike Life experiment over the summer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gear: LG Chocolate 3 Review

Despite my techie/gearhead leanings, I've always preferred to have a cell phone that was just a phone. No crazy internet access, no GPS navigation system, not even a camera (though I relented and my most recent phone had a camera). I just wanted something simple to stick in my pocket without a lot of crazy features. I didn't think that I needed -- or wanted to pay for -- any extra baggage.

The problem I've discovered after having gone through two 2-year contracts with phones at that level is that they're generally terrible phones. There's no money to be made on basic phones so cell phone manufacturers don't put any special engineering design or high quality batteries into them. Exhibit A: my most recent phone's battery wouldn't hold a charge worth more than 5 minutes of talk time with about 6 weeks to go on my contract. I happen to hate talking on the phone, so in certain cases this wasn't a bad thing! Still, more often it was very annoying.

When my Verizon contract was up in September and I was eligible for a "new every two" discount, I decided to skip the low end and at least look at the middle of the road phones where some solid design and components might be used. After looking around for a while, I honed in on the LG Chocolate 3 (VX-8560).
Things I liked from my research:
  • It's good as a phone. Several sites lauded good general phone capabilities. One even decided to start using this phone as its gold standard for comparison to other phones. General phone use is what I was always after, so big plus here.
  • Charged via USB. Notice the USB symbol on the bottom edge of the phone? The charger for the phone is actually an AC to USB port adapter. The phone comes with a USB cable and you can either plug it into the adapter or just plug it into a USB port on a computer. Cool idea.
  • Decent 2.0MP camera quality. My line has always been, "I don't need a camera on my cell phone, my regular camera works just fine." I have to admit, though, there are times when you're out somewhere and being able to grab something at least decent can be very useful (my previous phone's camera was horrid). It can also be very useful when you lose your regular camera.
  • 1GB capacity MP3 player built in. I've had an iPod for years but I've never had much use for it. When I'm at a computer (home, work, HTPC) I use Rhapsody to stream music from the internet and when I'm driving somewhere, I listen to CDs or the radio. Maybe having the MP3 player right on a device I'll always have in my pocket will change my use paradigm?
  • FM transmitter built in. I have an FM transmitter for the iPod but I've found it too klugey, too cumbersome and too poor sound quality to be of much use in the car, particularly when most of my downtown trips are 5 minutes or less -- it's really not worth the hassle of getting the transmitter running for trips that short. This one is built right into the phone and has a nice simple interface that might overcome the shortcomings over other solutions. However, for various reasons (mostly due to FCC limitations on their broadcast strength), FM transmitters are a flaky technology and I didn't hold out much hope that this one would be any better. If it worked, though, it would be a nice bonus.
  • Slim flip-phone design. Not exactly a feature that stands out anymore, but I've had chunky/clunky cell phones for so long that changing to a slim design would be nice.
SOLD! I purchased this cell phone about a month ago and I have to say that I love it. Some things are less than perfect, but overall it's an extremely solid phone. Obviously, as you've seen around here, the camera is at least passable. The MP3 player is a nice addition to the basic slim design and the FM transmitter is about as good as can be expected. I'm not sure the music package is going to change the way I listen to music in the car -- even the relatively simple interface for initiating FM transmission is a little too much work for a quick car trip (you also have to turn it back off when you're done) -- but I've found the external speaker useful in certain places where I wanted some background music and had no other sources and the FM transmitter has worked well on some longer car trips.

One feature that I'm a little unhappy about is the USB charging. I was under the impression that the USB cable was a standard USB --> mini USB cable similar to the kind found on most cameras. Turns out LG used a proprietary mini connector on the phone end, so I'll have to buy an extra cable to stash at work for an emergency charge instead of being able to use the USB --> mini USB cables I've got sitting around everywhere. It's not a big deal since it still charges from any USB port, but it would have been nice if they had used an existing standard on the phone side. Otherwise, job well done LG!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Photos: Cosmopolitan on the Canal Update

If you stumbled upon this post looking for information about the Cosmopolitan fire on March 12, 2009, information and photos can be found here and here.

Another shot taken from my cell phone. Apologies about the quality on this one. It might be a little tough to make out but there some spindly steel frames along the canal level. Click on the photo for a larger version that helps to show them. They've actually been up for a while but I haven't had a chance to go take a picture.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gear: The Camera Buying Decision

It's been almost two weeks since I last saw my camera. I've been holding out hope that I would open a drawer or move a pile of things and find it sitting there. My hope is quickly fading -- at this point, it's probably gone forever.

On the one hand, it sucks that I lost a camera that I was accustomed to using and it further sucks that I have to spend money to buy a replacement. But, on the other hand, that camera wasn't perfect and this provides an opportunity to evaluate exactly what I liked and disliked about that camera so I can get something a little better this time. As a way of gathering my thoughts, I'm going to bullet point the pros and cons of my camera. For reference, this is the camera I had, a 2.5 year old Canon A75 (anybody seen a slightly beat up one of these around?).

  • Four AA battery compartment makes a nice grip
  • Four AA batteries provides long life between charges
  • Manual controls available at a level between point-and-shoot and high-end SLR
  • 3.2 mega pixels was fine for my purposes
  • Has optical viewfinder (useful in bright outdoor situations when you can't see the screen)
  • Tiny viewscreen (by today's standards)
  • Four AA batteries is too heavy
  • Four AA battery compartment makes grip that's a little tough to slip into your pocket
  • Shutter delay can be incredibly long, particularly in low light
  • Compact Flash not as popular anymore? (not a dead format, but it seems to be getting phased out in favor of smaller formats)
Anybody have any advice about features I should be considering on newer cameras (or features that are not worth paying for) or any stores around town that might be good for information gathering?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

ABC News Live in Indy

When Charlie Gibson shows up in Indy and wants to shoot World News live one block from where you live, you go check it out, right? You're damn right I did!

To give you a little background, ABC News has been shooting on location in Presidential battleground states this week. Rather unexpectedly, Indiana is in play this year so ABC decided to stop in Indianapolis on Wednesday while Barrack Obama was in town for a rally at the State Fairgrounds. They set up to shoot World News from the St. Clair bridge over the canal and shut down the street for a couple hours this afternoon. Here's what the bridge looked like when I stopped by after work and ABC was setting up for the news:


Later, after checking out what the Indianapolis scenery looked like on the ABC broadcast, I went back out to watch Charlie Gibson in person:


A small crowd of people had also gathered to watch the action (I was actually surprised how small the crowd was):


After Gibson was done with the news and had recorded dozens of lead-ins for commercials on the west coast, he came over to shake hands and talk with people:


Aside: I still haven't found my camera so these pictures were taken with the camera on my new cell phone (I might write a post about that at some point). It takes pretty decent outdoor shots, so I may try to take some pictures of projects using that camera until I figure out what camera to buy. The main drawback is a lack of image stabilization, as you can see in the last shot of Charlie Gibson.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sorry for No Content

Apologies about the lack of posts around here. On top of little time to take pictures recently, I also misplaced my camera over the weekend. Until I resolve that -- either by finding it or buying a new one -- there probably won't be much, if any, content here. Of course, if I do have to buy a new one, that would at least be fodder for a Gear post (albeit very expensive fodder).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday DIG-B!

I was just looking back through old post ideas that I never completed and discovered that today happens to be exactly one year since I decided to start DIG-B. So, Happy Birthday to DIG-B and thanks to everybody that continues to stop by!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Photos: Indianapolis Streetcar Rail

I haven't had a chance to get out to take pictures recently so here's one from the vault. It happens to be from Ohio St. right in front of The Maxwell so it ties in well with my last photo post. While I was out on a tour of development sites with a group from Skyscraper City back in June, I noticed that as part of some curbside work they had ripped up the asphalt, revealing an old streetcar rail line. You can see the old brick road surface around it as well. I believe this section has been covered over again, but if you walk around this area of Ohio St., you can still see the rail lines peak out in several spots.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New DIG-B Layout

So, obviously the new layout went "live" yesterday, and those with a keen eye will have noticed that I subtly tweaked other features over the last day or so as well.  I think the photos look a million times better in this format and I hope you agree.  Just to say again, the standard now is for photos to have a width of 640 pixels and clicking on the photo brings up a separate, larger image with a width of 1024 pixels.  

Anybody have any comments, suggestions or scathing reviews they'd like to send my way?

Aside: my wife just started a new blog about her cooking, so here's a shameless plug to take a look and let her know what you think.

Photos: The Maxwell

The Maxwell Facts:
  • Location: Northwest corner of Ohio St. and Park Ave.
  • Height: 5 stories, plus an underground residents parking level
  • Ground Floor: 1/3 retail fronting Ohio St., 1/3 retail parking, 1/3 residents parking
  • Residential Units: 105 (floors 2-5)
  • Developer: Kosene & Kosene
  • Project Cost: $24M
Project status as of September 9, 2008.

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Looking Northeast from Ohio St.

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Looking West on Ohio St.

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Looking North at the center of the Ohio St. facade.

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Looking East at the buildings next to The Maxwell.

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Looking North on Park Ave.

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The Northeast corner of The Maxwell.

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Looking West on Miami St. (sorry about the darkness of this shot)

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The stairwell treatment on the West facade of The
Maxwell (this also appears on the North and East sides).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Development: Tavern at the Temple Closes

Just as the canal was welcoming a new restaurant to the area (Zing), I received word this afternoon that another canal restaurant is closing. Amanda Cravens has announced that Tavern at the Temple will cease operations after dinner tomorrow night (Sept. 10th).

This is very sad news, though perhaps not unexpected. I've had a handful of delightful meals there but they were never terribly full. I think they had the right location and the wrong restaurant plan. The outrageous success of Creation Cafe proves that people were more than ready to support a restaurant on the canal. Fine dining was probably not the way to kick off canal dining, however. In my opinion, a successful canal dining establishment needs to be one that caters to those out for a stroll on the canal or out enjoying a paddleboat ride as part of a day in downtown. You need to grab people off the canal, or at least entice the young professionals living in the area in some way, not hope for people to dress up and drive to your restaurant and look for on-street parking. The almost complete lack of signage doesn't help much either.

My guess is that the space won't stay closed for long and that we're likely to see another casual dining restaurant in there in the future. Perhaps a sports bar with a nice beer selection? Well, a beer geek can dream. . . .

UPDATE (9/10): Feed Me/Drink Me has some inside info about this closing. It appears that this is more of a management change than a closing of the restaurant. Obviously, I'm not sold on sticking with the same concept, but from a nearby resident perspective, I'm certainly not going to complain about keeping a fine dining restaurant in the area! I wish the new owners/management all the luck in the world.

Photos: St. Weyertech Building

I'm not sure what to call this building. Most recently, it functioned as Section 8 housing under the name Weyerbacher Terrace Apartments, though it was originally built as St. Vincent Hospital in 1913. St. Vincent Hospital operated out of this building until 1974 when it moved to its current location on 86th St, after which the building was converted to federally subsidized housing. When Weyerbacher Terrace was forcibly closed in 2002, it fell into disuse and disrepair. It was subsequently sold by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of Indianapolis in 2004 for $10 and then to Ivy Tech Community College in 2006 for $1. Ivy Tech planned to rehabilitate the building and convert it to classroms, though there is some controversy over their current plans, as, due to technical difficulties with rehabbing the building to their desired use, they have instead proposed to demolish the building and construct a new structure specifically for modern classrooms.

Here's how the building looks as of August 2008.

Someone posted quite a collection of photos of the interior of the building last year on flickr, so be sure to check those out as well.

Monday, September 8, 2008

DIG-B Update

Apologies for the lack of content recently. Things have been a little busy for me and I haven't had a chance to get out and take pictures for a while. I've also been working on a couple small but significant tweaks to the layout of DIG-B that I would like to finish up before I make any new photo posts.

The primary difference will be changing the width of the main column where posts are displayed. Since DIG-B has morphed into a very photo-centric blog, I feel that it's important to be able to display larger images. As a result, I'll be able to show pictures that are about 50% wider (and 50% taller -- for the geeks out there that results in images with 2.25 times as much area).

You may have also noticed that my pictures currently get displayed with jagged lines and other strange effects (also called aliasing). I'm tweaking the way images are displayed so that the blog will display alias-free images with 640 pixel width and you can click on the image for a version with 1024 pixel width. If that's too technical for you, just know that things will look a hell of a lot better and if you're on a slow connection, things should also load noticeably faster. I should be done with all the tweaks I'm working on sometime this week.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Welcoming Zing to Indianapolis

Last night I had the opportunity to get an early taste of the food and beverages at the newest restaurant in Indianapolis, Zing. My prediction?

Zing will be a home run.

The menu is tapas/small-plate style with a focus on sharing. Indianapolis really only has one other option in this restaurant style in BARcelona Tapas, and they have a decidedly different take on it. Samples of about a dozen different menu options circulated and we tried almost all of them. Several different "pizzettes," calamari, mini burgers, and meatballs were all very tasty but particular standouts were the ahi tuna and bacon wrapped dates. Highly recommended.

The price point, concept and location are perfect. It's unique enough to be the kind of place that draws from a wide range, a destination restaurant. The location is ideal for drawing some IUPUI lunch business, as well as Indiana Government Center employees that have a short canal walk to Zing, not to mention the building itself has very high visibility on West St.

Most importantly, it has a hip feel and a relatively low price point ($7-11 for most plates) that will appeal to the young professionals that predominate in the nearby apartment complexes. That's key, in my opinion. You can have a great restaurant with good buzz that draws people for a time, but the people living closest to a restaurant -- the ones that will continue to frequent it after the buzz has worn off -- are your bread and butter. You better appeal to them, and I think Zing will do just that.

And of course, there's the draw of the wrap-around balcony. Some have worried that the street noise from West St. would be a distraction. Far from it, I thought it actually added to the lively atmosphere and reminded you that you were in a city. Yesterday, downtown happened to be hosting a trifecta of sporting events with the Fever, Indians, and Colts all starting games at 7pm, so the road was particularly packed around 6-6:30. On a typical night, traffic on West St. drops to a trickle after 6pm, so I wouldn't worry about it. Of course, if a little street noise bothers you, you can always duck inside where the brick walls block out any noise outside.

They have parking for 25 or 30 cars in their lot, with another 15 or so metered spaces on Indiana that are free after 6pm, with little or no demand from other businesses. Add the relatively dense (and getting denser) population within just a couple blocks and getting people into Zing shouldn't be a problem.

Dinner service officially starts at 5pm on Monday the 1st and lunch service is added the following week, Monday the 8th at 11am.

Unfortunately, my camera died after just two shots last night, but I'll provide them here at the end, paired with earlier shots, so you can see the effect that the final week of little details had on the upstairs area.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photos: Cosmopolitan Update from the Canal Side

If you stumbled upon this post looking for information about the Cosmopolitan fire on March 12, 2009, information and photos can be found here and here.

While the work on the Cosmopolitan is still largely focused on the Senate and Michigan corner -- they recently started working on more wood framing north on the Senate side of the project -- visible work is finally showing up on the canal side. These photos were taken August 27th.

Looking SE, with the downtown skyline in the distance.

Looking north from the Historical
Landmarks Foundation parking lot.

Looking down to canal level from the same location.

Looking north at canal level in front of
the Historic Landmarks Foundation.

Looking northeast from the same location.

The backside of the Senate/Michigan corner from the
Historic Landmarks Foundation parking lot.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Photo: Zing Puts on the Finishing Touches

Word is that Zing is opening tonight for a big-wig "Ribbon Cutting Ceremony" and workers are busy finishing things up so it all looks nice. In particular, they're working on a staircase on the southern end of the wrap-around balcony (correctly predicted by thundermutt on an earlier post).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Photos: IU School of Medicine Research III

Research III Facts:
  • Cost: $83.3M 1
  • Location: Walnut St., between University Blvd. and Barnhill Dr.
  • Height: 7 stories 2
  • Floor Space: 254,000 sq.ft. (118 laboratories) 1
  • Connections: directly connected to Research II and the Cancer Research Institute -- these three buildings together will have 500,000 sq.ft. of research space -- as well as the Clarian People Mover
  • Groundbreaking: October 2005 1
  • Expected Occupancy: early 2009
Rendering, looking NW, People Mover
over Walnut St. in the foregound

Looking NE

Looking NW

People Mover connection to the building

The walkway

Cornerstone 2009

Looking west along Walnut St., Cancer Research Institute in red
brick and the Riley Hospital Tower expansion in the distance.

Again, looking west with Research II in red brick at right
and Research III beyond the People Mover walkway.

1Funding, size, groundbreaking information
2Emporis height information