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Chicago, day 2 - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

May. 14th, 2008

08:20 pm - Chicago, day 2

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Ugh, last night I felt sick, probably from eating a late late dinner at Denny's. Fortunately I didn't throw up.

In the morning, I felt better, and drove over to the suburb of Wheeling to see the Westin North Shore, where Midwest Furfest will be moving to this November. It's swankeh! (Caution for those arriving by car: there's major construction on I-294. It's passable but tricky and highly congestion-prone.)

Then I went looking for a place to have lunch. I thought I knew where all the restaurants were, but I guess I didn't remember my custom Google map very well. I was hoping to find a Subway... Instead, I found Potbelly Sandwiches, and I'm glad I did, because the sandwich was good, and there was a folksinger, named Jeff Wolf, with an acoustic guitar providing music for the lunch crowd. I heard him sing "Slow Boat To China", "White Rabbit", "Sloop John B", and oh yes, "Puff the Magic Dragon" with an extra verse he wrote himself (so it wouldn't have a sad ending). It goes:

Puff got into rehab,
Took twelve long steps to see
That Jackie Paper never had
The answers or the key.
Puff's gone middle class now,
Has a wife and family
And lives in San Diego
And runs Puff's Pottery.

--Jeff Wolf

After I left there, I drove downtown. I have two questions about downtown Chicago: 1. Is it ever not cold and windy there? 2. I am never driving into downtown Chicago again. Okay, that's not a question. If I ever want to go to downtown Chicago again, I'm either taking the train or asking someone who drives around there every day to take me. I went to Millennium Park again, and got to see Cloud Gate a.k.a. the Bean again, and I got to see the Crown Fountain with the huge glass-block monoliths that display pictures of faces.

But I wasted so much time and sanity traveling to and from downtown that I didn't have time for anything else. Also, the CD player in my rental car has a problem: it can't play some of my CDs. At first I thought it just didn't like Mika, but there were others it wouldn't play. One thing the unplayable discs have in common: they're all new. But there's one new disc it was able to play: "Funplex", by the B-52's. Anyone who knows how the music industry works, and who loves puzzles, want to try tackling this?

Discs the machine played:
They Might Be Giants, "Cast Your Pod to the Wind" ("The Else" bonus disc)
Cake, "Comfort Eagle"
Elvis Costello, "The Very Best of Elvis Costello", disc 1 (not to be confused with "The Very Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions")
The B-52's, "Funplex"

Discs it couldn't play:
Mika, "Life in Cartoon Motion"
OK Go, "Oh No"
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, "Love Their Country"
R.E.M., "Accelerate"

Anyway, I eventually got back to Schaumburg, and went to Woodfield Mall for dinner. I had a steak sandwich at The Great Steak & Potato Co., and a scoop of tiramisu ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. (Yummy!) It was nice to see the mall without its Christmas decorations up for once. :}

Tomorrow: Columbus, Ohio!

Comments:

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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:13 am (UTC)
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Ummmm... aren't *all* CD players digital?
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
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It's not spitting out the CDs it can't play, though; it's spinning them without playing anything, and every now and then I hear some tiny fraction-of-a-second slice of recorded sound.
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From:frostyw
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
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After I left there, I drove downtown. I have two questions about downtown Chicago: 1. Is it ever not cold and windy there? 2. I am never driving into downtown Chicago again. Okay, that's not a question. If I ever want to go to downtown Chicago again, I'm either taking the train or asking someone who drives around there every day to take me.

1. There's a reason it's called the Windy City. :) I think it has something to do with being on the edge of one of the Great Lakes.

2. The CTA service is reasonably decent, and I use it and Metra to get into Chicago from the 'burbs. If you're flying in to O'Hare and staying at the Westin for MFF, this will probably be your best bet.



Edited at 2008-05-15 02:06 am (UTC)
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From:timmowarner
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:26 am (UTC)
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I believe Chicago was founded when some settlers said "We'll stop here until the wind dies down."
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From:frostyw
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC)
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P.S. For the last response I meant to reference this page's section on "O'Hare or Midway To the Westin By Train".
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
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Winnipeg is often called "the Windy City" as well (hell, at the start of the 20th century, it was called the "Chicago of the North", that might be a reason why), and the intersection in the middle of downtown, where the city sprang from, Portage and Main (if you're a Winnipegger, you know how to pronounce that correctly), and the intersection I happen to work at, is known as the "windiest intersection in Canada". My geography prof in university explained it this way; the wind picks up speed blowing out over the prairies with nary a building to stop it (at least any building of any considerable height). Then, when it gets to Portage and Main, the skyline abruptly changed to several tall highrises at once. So the wind is funneled between the high rises to make the intersection really windy. (There's definitely credence to that as I notice the sharp winds as soon as I enter the property of the office tower I work in, but the instant I leave the property, the winds calm down). It might have that effect in Chicago, with prairie to the west of it, and the lake on the east (especially the lake I would think, as the elevation goes instantly from zero to hundreds of feet - at least Winnipeg has smaller buildings between the open prairie and Portage and Main ... )
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From:penh
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
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Perhaps the player was intimidated by your excellent taste in CDs?
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
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That must be it!
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
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Speaking of driving in downtown Chicago, as you may know I work for NCR, dispatching service technicians. Most areas (including mine of Cincinatti) the techs are required to drive from job to job, but I've filled in for the Chicago area dispatch before, and I remember that there the technician that does work in the Loop (ie downtown) just parks his car somewhere at the start of the day and walks from job to job, it's easier (and he prays that no large equipment is required to be lugged there) And these are native Chicagoans too!
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From:babsbunny
Date:May 15th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
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Call me when you get to Columbus!!! I get off work at 5 pm and we can hang out!
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 15th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
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Okay!
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From:linnaeus
Date:May 15th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
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Admittedly, driving isn't the best way to have a good time in downtown Chicago. Next time you find yourself up here, let me know, I'd be happy to show you around, particularly on a weekend or at a time when I can take a day off. Anyway, sorry I missed you tonight!
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 15th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
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Thanks, I'll consider it!
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From:keeper1st
Date:May 15th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC)
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Hee, "new words" to an old tune! Just last night I found a video of Terry Waldo doing this to a comedy song from 1917 called China, We Owe a Lot to You. I heard him sing this last year in Sacramento, but here he is singing it in Columbia, Mo. -- first the original second verse & chorus, then his modern-day verse and chorus.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6eR5AVVQL4
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From:wildbilltx
Date:May 15th, 2008 06:56 am (UTC)
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What kind of rental car was this? Might have been the lazer lens was dirty or miscalibrated.

My 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee car stereo is finicky with certain brands of CD-R's (Memorex and newer TDK) but plays Maxell and Fujifilm (made in Japan) fine. It also wont play CD-RW's, but blank CD-R's are cheap so I never bother with them.

Copy-Protected CD's are a waste of time and just encourages more people to use I-Tunes, Amazon or P2P.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 16th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
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A white Chevy Impala. And this sounds like a likely theory; see my latest post ("The trip from hell"). What the hell do Impala drivers do to their CD players?!
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From:duncandahusky
Date:May 15th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
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The good news is that Construction Season in Chicago usually ends the first week of November, so all of the construction on I-294 should be gone by then (only to reappear the following spring). I agree, though - it's unpleasant and annoying right now!

And driving into downtown Chicago? Good lord! I've lived around here off and on for eight years and I've learned not to even THINK about taking a car down there. Besides, there's so many cool places to see that you miss if you're not on foot, anyway :-)

Glad to hear you liked the Westin, though! We've sold out the joint, and we'll have ever square inch of function space there. We're really excited about it! (as you can tell from my excessive use of exclamation points!)
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From:deckardcanine
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
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I never read or heard all the PtMD lyrics until after this post. It leads me to question anew the appropriateness of putting the song on a children's album, with children's voices, as was done in the late '80s.
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From:orv
Date:May 15th, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
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I think the drug references go straight over the heads of most kids. Kind of like the double-entendres that pop up in a lot of cartoons.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:May 15th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
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Yes, which is why I decided that that aspect was basically okay. But what about the sad ending? I guess they counted on kids being satisfied with only a few verses.
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From:wildfox34
Date:May 15th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
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Don't remind me about downtown Chicago... first time I went to Chicago for MFF 2002, I made a wrong turn going onto I-290 and I drove straight into downtown Chicago during rush hour on a Thursday. Anytime I've driven through downtown Chicago has been a pain, although I've had some decent drives on weekends through downtown on the Dan Ryan (I-94).
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 16th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
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I thought I could handle it because I didn't have much trouble last time I went there during MFF 2007, but this time I missed my exit (51I from 90 SB onto 290) because it was poorly signed, and I got off at the next exit, and looking for a place to stop and check my map, I found myself at Southgate Market, where I had to buy some pens at Office Depot so I could get my parking validated.
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