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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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My Nature Photography, 2007 - Present

I often fancy myself a student of nature, and from time to time I take the time to photograph it, often in manic, repetitive fashion. I also revel in the sometimes jarring and breath-taking moments of nature near the urban. Some favorite places are the North Park Nature Center at Pulaski and Foster in Chicago, Herrick Lake on Butterfield Road in Wheaton, Winfield Mounds on Winfield Road in Winfield, and any lick of nature I can get as cars whiz by. 

In the last few years, in the course of my travels for work &etc, I've continued this avocation. So I decided to collect my favorite nature photos together. Here's the complete set on Flickr and here it is as a coffee table book on Qoop. Here are some of my faves w/ notes:

I live in Chicago, where Jens Jensen used to be a superintendent of the park district. One of the greatest deciders of how we should approach nature used to be a city official designing ways we can encounter nature. I am so lucky. This is Humboldt Park, which he made.

The Prairie River of Jens Jensen, Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL > January 1, 2007

I've documented the devastating affects of storms over the last few years. This is in Indian Boundary Park in Chicago.

Storm Damage (This Is Where Paper Comes From), Indian Boundary Park, Chicago, IL > August 25, 2007

This is a trail near the airport in Pittsburgh. Just a few steps from the road and you're different.

Stones in Shallow Water, Woods Near Coraopolis, PA > October 25, 2009

If you go back to a place often enough, Ansel Adams shows up. Herrick Lake ftw.

Ripple-Autumn, Herrick Lake, Wheaton, IL > October 23, 2008

There are quiet battles everywhere. Winfield Mounds for the umpteenth time.

Snow Fights Sun for Control of Tree, Winfield Mounds, Winfield, IL > January 13, 2009

When you have no idea what you're doing, sometimes you can make cool mistakes. Clanging birds overhead, turned fast at Lincoln Marsh in Wheaton.

Unfocused Geese, Lincoln Marsh, Wheaton, IL > March 4, 2009

Sometimes birds are vain. This one sat for me + the kids at Lincoln Marsh.

Serene Stillbird, Adult Female Red-Winged Blackbird, Lincoln Marsh, Wheaton, IL > May 23, 2009

The process of manicuring fascinates me. This is behind a karate school in Carol Stream, IL.

The Land Behind Superstar Karate (Prairie Battles the Mower), Carol Stream, IL > June 3, 2009

Even buying Indiana fireworks can be a nature photo op. Krazy Kaplans, of course.

Nature Near Krazy Kaplans, Hammond, IN > July 2, 2009


Duck Snacking on Pond Algae, Herrick Lake, Wheaton > July 27, 2010

Thanks for scrolling!

Spreadsheet of Every Catholic Church in Chicago

I am working on a project with a friend of mine and it became necessary to discover the location of every Catholic Church in the City of Chicago.

I discovered a list here on the Archdiocese of Chicago Web site. It's perfectly informative, but it doesn't 100% serve my needs, so I copy/ pasted the stuff, made a spreadsheet out of it, added some columns, and started filling it out.

Behold a Complete List of Catholic Churches in Chicago. It has Parish name, Address, Phone/ Fax, Web address, Mass Times, and Notes. I've just started on it, but I've found a number of Web sites that the Archdiocese didn't know about, and I want to compile all of the Mass times into something cohesive.

We've got a lot more on the way-- stay tuned. If you've got info and want access to edit the document, hit me up. Thank you, and God bless America.

On Foursquare, Facebook Places, Accountability, and Alcoholics Anonymous

Cta-tweet-logo I'm a fan of accountability. A major part of my day job is to convince municipalities to release public data. I work on side projects with my friend Harper that help track spending by the City of Chicago and help people see whether the trains are running on time. We do this for fun.

One thing I've noticed, as transparency has become an effective buzzword for politicians, is that there is a fundamental lack of accountability in regular day-to-day life. I'm a firm believer of the idea that we can't raise our fists in united open-data solidarity unless and until we are prepared to be accountable at the most atomic human level.

The other thing is that people like to convince other people that they're awesome. I'm the same way. I want you to think, as you graze my Internet grass, that I'm a really great guy. That's normal.

And the most fundamental level of human accountability is the answer to this simple question, asked over in over in many different contexts: "Where have you been?"

All sorts of technology that help answer that question are firmly embedded into our lives now. Highway toll transponders, GPS devices, cell phone triangulators, the inevitable Facebook. It goes and on and on. Facebook Places was just launched last week, and it introduced the concept of the "check-in" to millions of people.

There has been a goodly amount of teeth-gnashing around this launch. But I think it is misplaced. We should welcome configurable tools that help increase individual accountability. And it's also healthy to muff them up as we see fit.

Foursquare-logoFor me, Foursquare hits it right on the mark and has for some time. The stated thrust of the service is to be a "mobile + social + friend finder + social city guide + nightlife game thing." But I don't care about that-- I care about being a good father, being a good member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and being a good partner in life. I use Foursquare for my life.

I have been in AA since September 10, 2000, but I'm not the world's greatest member. I don't go to enough meetings, I don't really do service work, I've never sponsored anyone, and the few people I've brought to their first meeting never came back.

But one thing I can do is add venues for AA meetings to Foursquare. I've added The 12 Step House on Sunnyside + Damen (if you've ever walked by there I'm sure you've said, "what goes on there-- and why are all those people standing outside, smoking?"), the Sauganash Community Church Annex in Forest Glen (and since there's just one check-in, you can tell I haven't been back, but it was a good meeting!), and the Lincoln Park Alano Club (I was pretty surprised this wasn't on there already).

Maybe someone checking in to a nearby place will see one of these venues and it will spark something for them. Maybe a fellow AA looking for a meeting will find one. But one thing I know for sure is that I made it to a meeting, and I have been accountable for that hour, and I have ever-so-slightly skewed things on the Internet to serve me and my goals.

So let's start looking each other in the eye more often, and tell each other where we've been. I'm certain we'll feel more empowered. Who knows-- we may even feel like demanding accountability all over the place.


Bridge Made from 18-Wheeler Trailerbed

My friend lives in Michigan. Though he's not a farmer by trade, he has a lot of land and does a goodly amount of farming and land-grooming.

He's got a creek out back that runs through the middle of his property, so he needs to get himself and his equipment over the creek.

So he figured the bottom slice of an 18-wheeler truck would do the trick. He was right. He is also awesome.

Complete set here.

Hard to tell if if was the dogs or the chemicals.

Fiddler Crab > Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, August 8, 2010

Shawn-Laree and I went to Wellfleet on Cape Cod to spend some time with friends. We went for a walk at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, which is maintained by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. I love taking nature pictures, and this place had so many different habitats. It was a great day. Here's the complete set. Some thoughts:


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.