Monday, May 31, 2010

Normal Uniqueness

This is an article about residents of Birmingham, Alabama, getting together to oppose the look of "cookie-cutter" developments (e.g., fast-food chains, drug stores). They even started a Facebook site called "I Believe in Birmingham" for posting information related to their movement. According to the article, residents don't have to accept a standard design of a business if they believe that it won't fit in with their community. They just need to be educated, organized, and vocal in expressing their opposition.

It's good to know that it is possible to get businesses to change their designs and it is also good to know that some residents are willing to take the time and effort to get involved in shaping the look of their communities. It's something to keep in mind as Normal continues to grow and new businesses come here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Normal, Denver, & Form-Based Code

Interesting article about Denver's development of form-based code. I like the idea of chickens within town but not the idea of "carriage houses" in neighborhoods. Those are my opinions and I stand by them.

Normal Sans Color

I've noticed that there is very little color in the webcam view of Uptown Normal. The only colors come from the sky (when it's blue), trees (in season), and the Normal Theater sign (when lit after dark). Otherwise, the buildings, street, sidewalk, and storefronts (as seen from the webcam) are all grayish. Even the vehicles don't have bright colors. Kind of blah looking. It's probably just the distance of the camera from the street that causes this. Or else the streetscape really is that blah. At least the new CVS Pharmacy will liven up the scenery with red signs!! Oh, I get it: red CVS signs to go with the ISU school color. Coincidence or clever strategizing?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Normal Branches

After spending two hours pruning bushes and trees, I'm thankful that Normal provides yard waste pick-up. (The good soil of central Illinois must make the bushes grow like crazy!) I usually have a giant pile of branches to set out by the curb twice a year. One pile down, one to go.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Normal 100th Post!

This is my 100th post. I started this blog by writing summaries of the sections in the 2008 Town of Normal Annual Report. After that was completed, I wrote comments on information about Normal, I wrote silly, Normal-related song lyrics, I created Normal word scrambles, I found Normal-themed information on the internet, and I made observations about things going on in Normal. It's been challenging but fun. I feel like I've tapped into all possible sources of information about or relating to Normal, though, so I'm not sure where to go from here. Hopefully, the summer months will present me with some new information and ideas to share. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Normal Reality

Normal reality shows:
"The Real Housewives of Normal" -- Five women eat, shop, talk, and fight for our entertainment. Introducing the housewives: Lois, the real estate agent with a temper; Brianna, showered with money and gifts from her rich boyfriend (she's not actually a housewife but that doesn't seem to be a requirement to be on this show); Suzee, divorced and raising two young children while selling her own line of beaded jewelry; Dorissa, professor's wife who is constantly entertaining (and gossping about) the local academic elite; and Wendy, newly married with a shady past (she's from -- gasp -- Chenoa!) and a wandering eye.

"So You Think You Can Teach" -- Contestants compete to see who is talented enough to hold the attention of constantly-texting students while also teaching them a thing or two. Judges include a university president, two principals, thirty teachers/professors, and fifty helicopter parents. Viewers may also cast votes for their favorite contestant (but have to pass a quiz first)!

"Dancing with the Elected Officials" -- Local elected officials are paired with professional dancers to learn difficult dance steps and trade in their dignity for a chance to win some goofy trophy. Which Mayor has what it takes to two-step without tripping? Which Council members look best in sparkly costumes? Who will be the tough judge, the lenient judge, and the judge who always makes loud, passionate observations about the dancers? Stay tuned!

"Big Normal Brother" -- Houseguests are locked inside a compound at a not-so-secret location in northeast Normal where they will spend the summer surrounded by cameras, competing for food, evicting fellow housemates, and engaging in show-mances. Participants include the old guy, the mother figure, the nonconformist, the homosexual, the religious gal, the exhibitionist, and the not-so-bright one. The theme of this BB season is "expect the abnormal!" Rumor has it that one houseguest is actually an animal (well, genetically; it's complicated). Watch the show and subscribe to the 24-hour live feed so you can see the stuff that gets edited out for TV. (The show doesn't really have anything to do with Normal except that the compound will be located here and that's enough to get us some national attention. No such thing as bad press...)

Two reality shows that were rejected as possible Normal-themed:
"Amazingly Normal Race" -- Getting around Normal and engaging in the local customs are just too difficult, stressful, and/or odd for teams to handle.
"Normal Millionaire Matchmaker" -- Normal rich people refuse to mingle with those of lesser means, no matter how hot they are.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Normal 3 Degrees of Separation

Even though Bloomington has switched to single-stream recycling, Normal continues to require that recycling be separated into three categories: paper, cardboard, and containers. That's ok. We can handle that. It's nice and tidy, kind of like Normal: business district ("Uptown"), historic districts, university area, farmland, newer subdivisions. Please remember to pick up after yourself and, if you're the last to leave, turn out the lights. Thanks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Normal Misleading Title

From the Normal web page: "A Single Man Showing at the Normal Theater" is quite an attention-grabber ... until you realize that it's just the title of the movie. (Now that ISU students have left town, there probably is only one single man around here.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Normal Theatrics

There's a Broadway show called "Next to Normal." It's a musical about pain and anguish! Obviously, it's not about our town. What would a musical about Normal, Illinois, include? Probably not cats, cowboys, sailors, or a carnivorous plant. Maybe farmers, insurance company employees, and college students? And the setting would include corn/soybean fields, college campuses, lots of restaurants, and a traffic circle.

Possible songs included: "Oh, What a Wind-Driven Snowfall!," "Menus," "Feed Me, Waiter!," and "There Ain't Nothin' Like a Quad!"

Now that I've come up with those song titles, some lyrics have popped into my head:

"Oh, What a Wind-Driven Snowfall!" -- Oh, what a wind-driven snowfall. Oh, what a bitter cold day. I've got a frostbitten feelin' winter's not goin' away. All the cars on the streets sliding sideways. All the cars on the streets sliding sideways. The schools are all closed and State Farm has shut down. But the restaurants are busy all over this town! Oh, what a wind-driven snowfall. Oh, what a bitter cold day. I've got a frostbitten feelin' winter's not goin' away.

"Menus" -- Menus, from our favorite restaurants, with the wonderful entrees, and desserts we all love. Fancy wine lists and a la carte items offered to us. Let us order one of each from above.

"There Ain't Nothin' Like a Quad!" -- There ain't nothin' like a quad. Nothin' in the world. There ain't nothin' you can sod that is anything like a Quad.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Normal emails

Want to know which roads will be closed? Want to know what hot-button issues the Town Council will be discussing at their next meeting? You don't have to wait for The Pantagraph to find out! Just sign-up for automatic email notification! It is kind of disappointing to find out that the road that you usually take will be closed in the coming weeks (oh no, another email with "road closure" in the subject line!), but at least it saves you the hassle of trying to find a detour when you are running late. The Children's Discovery Museum seems to have the largest fan base. Poor Public Works -- only 15 fans! Won't you lift their spirits and request emails from them?

It's a great service. And if you're not sure about making a long-term commitment, you don't have to worry: you can remove your name from the list at any time. And they won't pester you with "Find us on Facebook" or "Follow Us on Twitter," at least, not yet...