Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bridges and China Town

I went down to the China Town and bought myself some chopsticks.

But perhaps what I enjoyed a bit more were the bridges. 

It was basically like walking on a pier. Just.. less waves.

I'm not really sure why they need a shack in the middle of that one, but I guess it's important somehow.

To top it all off, I enjoyed a cool, refreshing beverage courtesy of China Town.

That fabulous picture was taken while we waited for our train. That's Jessica. Jessica, unfortunately, does not live in Chicago. Jessica was visiting a guy who just moved in and happens to be the brother of a guy who was friends with most of my friends in San Luis Obispo. I would say I was friends with him, too, but I'm not. He moved to SLO right around the time I moved out, so I didn't really ever meet him. Anyway, that complicated back story only slightly explains Jessica. The point is, if she actually lived here, we would totally be hanging out right now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chicago--Because You Can't Get Enough

Months ago I was sitting near Millennium Park, waiting for some people I was semi acquainted with so that we might go to the Jazz Festival together. Well, it was a lovely summer evening, and my back was turned to the Bean, when a passerby swore loudly and exclaimed how beautiful the Bean was and how he needed to capture it on film.

Of course, if someone is so moved by a sight of beauty that the only way to express themselves is with profanity, it must be something truly awe inspiring, so I turned around to look.

I have some bad news for all of you who think I'm deep, but I rarely look at the Bean for it's reflective qualities. Instead, I always see it as what it is: A giant thing in the shape of a bean. So, when I turned to look, I saw.... a bean. Looks the same as always. Beanie. Bean like. Possessing the qualities of a bean. And then it hit me. Myriah, you need to look beyond the bean-ness, and focus on the qualities the bean currently possesses, specifically, the skewed version of my current surroundings and the skyline. And, although not moved to profanity, I did think it pleasant to look upon and snapped a picture for you.

I've also been snapping pictures in other parts of town.

One day I found myself visiting the Chicago Cultural Center. This building is very cool. You should check it out when you can. Perhaps one of the coolest things about this building is the free concert provided everyday at lunch. I went on a classical day, with Dileep Gangolli on clarinet and Yu-Sui Hung on piano. It was beautiful.

I also hit up Buckingham Fountain. I really want to see it at night. I think it would be legit.

Remember when I found the likeness of a thestral outside the Museum for Contemporary Trash? Well, I spotted another animal likeness in Chicago.

 The people here are crazy for wildlife! I like this depiction of a family. It's very cute. I will have you know that so far in the city I've spotted birds, squirrels, and bunnies. I have never seen citified bunnies in the wild before, and I'm shocked every time I spy one. Maybe one day I'll have my bearings about me and be able to capture it on film. It might require some swearing. Who knows.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shedd Aquarium

Quick, if you haven't read the title of this post, guess this building:

Oh, good work, I'm glad you guessed the Shedd Aquarium!

As I'm sure you know, I have very strong ties to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and judge all other aquariums against my beloved Monterey. Simply put, Shedd is a great aquarium, and I learned a lot, but it won't replace my number one.

The Shedd did have two fantastic aspects:

First, this little guy, how cute!

Second, a great view!

The view was truly fantastic, and I was so inspired that I decided to make my patented aquarium-over-looking-the-water-yoga-pose.

I think I could have done a bit better on my pose if I didn't have a sheer drop-off right behind me. It only looks like low shrubbery, but let me tell you, that was some tall shrubbery.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Worst Fear

I have an issue with milk. It creeps me out. Milk is never an acceptable beverage choice. It is too fickle. It is too shady. It goes bad too quickly. Sour milk is so life-altering that I've had thoughts of encouraging the government to punish criminals by forcing them to drink rotten milk. That will show 'em to obey the law!

My first experience with sour milk happened after my brothers moved out of the house. I went to the fridge, poured it into my cereal, and took a bite. It was horrific. I had never experienced anything so terrible. After freaking out and reeling out of control, I discussed with the family regarding the changing milk needs, and we came to a good solution.

When I moved out of the house for the first time, I would buy my milk in half gallon installments. In general, this system would work out really well. There was only one instance where my milk went bad before I could finish it, but my nose caught on before my taste buds did, and no harm was done.

Since moving out of my parents house (again) I have reverted back to my old half gallon ways. At the store I purchase the milk at the back of the queue, thinking that it is the freshest.

This morning something terrible happened. I poured rotten milk all over my Strawberry Mini-Wheats and proceeded to eat a mouthful. It was so nastifras that I almost threw up. It was possibly the worst thing I had ever experienced in my entire life.

I think it's time to find a milk alternative.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Excess of Mexican Food

Last night I was talking to my roommate and she asked what I had on my agenda for today. I told her I was going to return a library book, work out, write an article and eat a lot.

She responded, "Eat a lot?"

Yes. I have been starving. These past few days my stomach has been audibly upset that it has nothing to gnaw on, so I will finally give it the love it needs. It was so important to me that I put it on my agenda.

Well. I did it. I ate a lot for dinner, and I am now suffering the consequences. I am now so bodily uncomfortable that the only thing I can do is complain. Thankfully, I was able to type this out and complain to the world. World complaining is so important sometimes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

When I turned in my coveted Art Institute of Chicago Museum Pass I decided to try another. This time it was the Museum of Contemporary Art. I maintain a fairly firm policy that I don't enjoy modern or "contemporary" art. I went to the museum, of course, with an open mind, ready to be surprised and delighted. Instead, I found this:

Let me just tell you that I don't get it. Sure, I could make some crap up about how I "understand" and "appreciate" this art form, and how it exemplifies the human drama, but whatev. While I was in this room, I was looking at another piece of stupid when I read more about the piece from the artist. The artist wrote, "I'm really interested in emphasizing their objectness."

Seriously? Whatev.

I did kinda think this pig art was interesting. 

But, it didn't speak to me, so I moved on. I passed this pond, which was the only thing in the entire museum that I really enjoyed.

After the pond, I did find something that spoke to me. Literally. It was these mounds of dirt.

You are obviously wondering about the dirt, so I will let you read the info:

After the dirt I found myself looking at a bunch of old dolls and stuffed animals. When I say "dolls" I don't mean hand painted porcelain dolls. I mean a dime a dozen plastic dolls.  Because I didn't understand, I read the info tag in hopes of gleaning more information. The artist, apparently, was interested in collecting things that were once highly desired but have since lost their retail value.

So... I was walking around in a room of old junk.

I desired a break from all the crazy, so I went to the restroom. You know, for resting. I walked in the door and heard this little girl squealing. After a moment I realized there was no little girl. Nope, it was another piece of contemporary art, right there in the ladies restroom.

So, if you were thinking that maybe you would record yourself making random bird calls that are unrecognizable as bird calls and call it art, well, you could make the recording, but I'm sorry to tell you it has already been done. Maybe you could make a mobile.

I recently found a passage from Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde that emphasizes my human drama:
"I call it The Id Within," said the young artist in a quiet voice, avoiding everyone's gaze and  pressing his fingertips together...He continued: "Like life, my piece reflects the many different layers that cocoon and restrict us in society today. The outer layer--reflecting yet counterpoising the harsh exoskeleton we all display--is hard, thin, yet somehow brittle--but beneath this a softer layer awaits, yet of the same shape and almost the same size. As one delves deeper one finds many different shells, each smaller yet no softer than the one before. The journey is a tearful one, and when one reaches the center there is almost nothing there at all, and the similarity to the outer crust is, in a sense, illusory."

"It's an onion," I said in a loud voice. (225-226)

Now, I am rather negative, and don't care at all about the things I saw in the museum. The thing that does interest me, however, is the interest these artists had in their work. Obviously they were driven and motivated. This life work, I would assume, fulfilled them. They had a desire to fulfill, a goal to accomplish. And, seeing how it is in a museum, I'm guessing these artists received all the acclaim, the self survival, the inner peace, or the outward expression they desire. I hope.

The good news from this trip was that I found a thestral on my way home.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Art Institute of Chicago

In the daytime my roommates generally go to work, and I generally put on my exploring shoes and go to a museum. The very first Museum Pass I was able to score from the Chicago Public Library was to The Art Institute of Chicago. It was a magical land. I did it all wrong, though.

I decided to start in the basement and work my way up the other levels. I saw some cool things, like this armor for a German father and son. 

Then I wandered into the land of miniatures, which was very cool, and I saw ancient pottery from all sorts of civilizations. Then I found the hall of the marble busts. Sure, it was cool, but I've been to Hearst Castle, where the marble busts are cooler because they are incorporated into a design, so I really could have skipped that hall. What I should have done was go straight to the land of Impressionism.

Oh how I love Impressionism. I get lost in the paintings. The above painting is by Georges Seurat. I can't believe I've seen A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte in real life. It blows my mind.

Also on display was Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte. I think this painting is currently on display somewhere in... Asia?

After checking out various other galleries, I found myself at the Paris Street again, only this time there was a lot more people.

Then I remember seeing signs that the museum would be free on that day from 5-8. Thankfully, I was basically done looking around and didn't have to elbow people out of the way to see my favorite paintings. As I was leaving the building, I noticed this massive line of waiting patrons. People here are very serious about free art.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Since landing in Chicago I have noticed a big push to go outside and enjoy summer as much as possible. Here in Chicago, summer ends on Labor Day. There are signs everywhere alerting you to the end of summer. Buses stop going to the beach, community pools shut down, and local stores stop selling sunscreen. I had no idea that summer just ends. In California, I'm not really sure when summer is over. Maybe near Thanksgiving?

I thought all this was ridiculous. Summer just ends, huh? Then suddenly it is fall? Yeah, right. Silly city.

Well, this morning I needed to go to the library and the post office. I stepped outside, and the wind was almost...brisk. There were leaves swirling around the streets. August wind was not like this. August leaves were firmly on the trees. This was weird. I should never have doubted an entire city.

As I started walking, I sensed a bit of festivity in the air. It was the same feeling I get when I walk to my hometown Colony Days celebration. In October. And even in October, I sometimes wish I was wearing shorts and a light t-shirt. So I was walking along, leaves and wind brisking around me when I start to hear music, and see people in jackets and long pants all heading in one direction. I look around, and see tents! OHHHH!!!! It was totally a festival! I simply adore festivals!!

I finish up my business at the post office and library, where I read a sign that I didn't understand. Sometimes, when I read signs around here, I wonder what language they were translated from. Anyway, I found a group of people and followed them to the Polish Festival!!! I was very excited! Unfortunately, it cost 6 bucks to get in, and I really wasn't ready to shell out the dough. I did, however, look through the fences, and it appears that the festival had multiple live bands, food (it looked like sausage and beer), handmade jewelry, Polish flags, t-shirts with the Polish flag on it, and if I saw correctly, a Polish flag beer cozy. It all looked pretty good, but seeing how I'm not in the market for Polish items, beer, or sausage, I decided to make my way back home. I think my favorite part of the Polish Festival was the music, which is good, because I could hear it from my house. It all worked out perfectly.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chicago Cubs

Because of my need to live it up Chicago style, I went to a Cubs game on Tuesday. The Tuesday choice wasn't an arbitrary move, but was selected solely based on the promotion offered at the ball park that night. They were giving away hats to the first fans through the gates!

I, like a good consumer, am very motivated by promotions. For instance, my local Jewel-Osco (That's a grocery store, peeps. I don't know why it has a dumb name.) just started a promotion for cookware! I'm saving up for the 9.4-inch sauté pan with lid.

Well, the hats got us in the gates, but there were other reasons I needed to go to Wrigley Field.  I wanted to see the ivy covered walls, I wanted to see the rooftop seating, I wanted to see the drunken stupor in the streets after the game, I wanted to be jammed with a million other people on public transport.

I wanted to see the Cubs maybe have a shot at winning. So when I saw that the Cubs were hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates, I figured it might be a good game, seeing how neither team is very good. I was wrong. The Pirates killed the Cubs. Shot 'em, skinned 'em, and hung 'em out to dry. It was sad. But I got a hat. And I had a Chicago hot dog. Remember when you came to my Chicago party, and we recreated the traditional Chicago hot dog to the best of our ability? But we weren't sure we wanted to dye the relish neon, and we didn't know how to obtain sport pickles on the west coast, and also no one was sure what they looked like? Remember that? Well, I am in Chicago to find a job in advertising, but I am also here to bust through various Chicago myths and misunderstandings.

Behold: the fresh toppings of a Chicago hot dog.

The game was a lot of fun, despite the miserable loss. I got to see all I came to see, and also, I got a bonus keepsake: 

A sheet of paper, stating my first visit to Wrigley Field was on August 31, 2010. It's suitable for framing.