I'm A Legal Alien Now

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chicago, A Pictorial Report Part 1

I am rather over Google.

And that they buy every goddamn website on the internet and I innocently come online to do my Pictorial Report and I need a google account. I will not have a goddamn google account Google, I said good day sir! I cried but it soon became evident I didn't have much choice if I wanted to keep this blog.

And I was this close to switching to Gmail but now I shan't out of pure, unadulterated spite even though I use it occasionally for work when we need to send images and our server can't hack it and it does seem kinda neat and I'm always at least several months behind these sorts of trends (apropos- I've started to think I wouldn't mind an IPod at some point).

Chicago, A Pictorial Report

A sudden cold snap descended upon the USA for Easter and prior to flying up to Chicago on Friday morn I had to get out my overcoat and scarves which I had optimistically stored for Spring.

After an uneventful flight north I was able to check in right away at the Palmer House Hilton. The room was tiny. There was about 30cm between the end of the bed and the TV, and if I were two inches fatter I would not be able to close the bathroom door from inside the bathroom. As I would later discover, the mirrors were very badly lit and the bedside lighting required a serious, ligament tearing stretch from the bed to turn off. Also, I found it kind of cheap that if you wanted a little bar fridge in your room you had to pay $30- extraordinary when most motels will chuck that in for free.

I debated whether I'd made the right career choice and should have gone into hotel design after all, then headed to the famous Art Institute of Chicago. It was real crowded which put me in a bad mood, and I was ready to eat my fist so I wanted to eat first. The line for the cafe was so long I decided to suck it up and go to the posh restaurant instead where I sat at the bar and had an absolutely divine meal.

The AIC has two particularly notable works which are sensational but otherwise didn't do much for me.

Gold stars for those that can correctly name both works (double gold stars if you get the one in French with its original language title).

Strolled through Millenium Park next, saw the Anish Kapoor work which is indeed groovy. Chicago is famous for the beauty of its skyscrapers so I apologise for the endless photos of buildings.

After a promising start, the weather was already turning to the cloudy, windy and freezing shit it would stay as for the rest of the weekend.

The big pointy building at the back is the Sears Tower, which has the highest observation deck in the world and is the third highest building in the world.

From here I charged up Michigan Avenue, known as the Magnificent Mile for its shopping (eh, I don't need to see another Needless Markup or 'nana 'public) to the Museum of Contemporary Art which, asides from its totally fabulous store, was hosting a Rudolph Stingel exhibition. It was kinda neat, the entire hall was wrapped in tin foil and you could write in it and pin messages to it. Another wall was shag carpeting which you dragged your hands through to make your own patterns.


Saturday held a special treat for me, the Museum of the International College of Surgeons. I walked from Fox & Obel, which is near one of my favourite buildings in the world, Lake Point Tower. I've loved its curvy form ever since I first saw it in a skyscrapers coffee table book I obtained when I was 13. I did take a photo but it's really crap, so the link is public domain. The walk was so cold I got to the stage when only four blocks from my target I seriously considered hailing a cab.

Anyway, the Surgery Museum is absolutely tremendous and I love it for its old-fashionedess and making absolutely no concession to this day and age of interactivity and kid-friendly exploratoriums. Asides from a rather unsettling concentration on amputation and trepanning I learnt more than I ever thought I would known about cesarean sections (the first success- with both mother and child surviving- was in 1793!). It also, happily, has a superb selection of souvenirs.

Housed in an old mansion on the lake, the former libary is now a magnificent boardroom.

I then walked all the way back down Michigan Ave to Palmer House, quite a hike indeed, but it did mean I could have many crazy photo moments of impressive buildings.

The building right out on the left is Lake Point Tower. The big mama is the John Hancock Center (more on the ol' fella to come).

After an invigorating nap, I headed out to the ArchiCenter Store, where I found Mum a birthday present. It truly is a sensational piece of store, it is. Nearby is the Artist Snack Shop in the rather splendid Arts Building. This is a dump of a diner where all the waiters are obnoxious out of work arty types who talk about their dramatic writing major as if their tutor was Ibsen. Despite listening to the whining of students, it was a great place.

It was time to head out to see Kathleen Turner in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It was, as could be safely predicted, an invigorating night of theatrics. Slightly ruined by the fact that every time someone went upstage their torso got chopped off. It didn't happen much, but enough for me to think it should really be on the ticket as a sightline issue- I know I would've bought a more expensive seat. Also I missed much of the third act because the staff in the foyer were chattering so loudly and I would've had to vault over three rows to go out and teach them some theatre etiquette.

But the etiquette games were not over yet.

I returned back to Palmer House famished and asked the front desk clerk where I could buy a chocolate bar. She sent me to a 7-11 on Wabash, round the corner. I said 'Fantastic, thanks!' and then as I walked away the second clerk mimicked 'fantastic, thanks!'. Outrageous!

Part 2 to follow.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger anney said...

Gmail is pretty cool. And I am fairly certain your google account is generally your gmail account. At least mine is.

But you are right. Google are a bit evil. In fact, I would even go as far as saying they are the Microsoft of the Internet. Except worse. They control what we see when we search for something. They even have people paying them to put their links on top when certain things are searched . . . Not cool.

Oh how I long for the days when there were several different search sites - Yahoo, Altavista, Anzwers. Now, if they still exist at all, they're powered by Google.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

Do you remember Excite? Or Lycos? Always my favourites... oh dear I'm drunk. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

1:35 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home