rusty_armour (rusty_armour) wrote,

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Back from Chicago...

I got back late last night from a wonderful trip to Chicago with jackycomelately and E. Our main reason for going was to attend VividCon (which I'll touch on later), but we also wanted to squeeze in as much sightseeing as we could before that. Thanks to E's excellent organizational skills and sense of direction, I think we managed to see a helluva lot. Here's a photo album of sorts for those of you with the time, interest and patience.

We started our tour of the city in true Chicago fashion by purchasing transit passes and taking the "El" (the Elevated Train). While not the most picturesque of places, Forest Park Station (near O'Hare Airport) got us where we needed to go -- Washington Station and the Macy's on State Street to pick up our Go Chicago Cards.

One of the first places we visited was Grant Park where we found the beautiful Jay Pritzker Pavilion. We were fortunate enough to be there while the Grant Park Orchestra was rehearsing for that evening's free concert.

We also took great delight in the Cloud Gate Sculpture ("The Bean") in Millenium Park.

The Bean

The three of us reflected in The Bean.

jackycomelately and E at Millenium Park

Michigan Avenue as seen from Millenium Park

The El seen in the distance from Millenium Park

After visiting Grant Park, we grabbed some takeout from Noodles and ate in a small plaza on Michigan Avenue before heading to Navy Pier. On the way there, we saw a number of interesting things.

Wrigley Building

Carbide and Carbon Building -- a classic example of Art Deco architecture

Fairly obvious, I know, but here's the Chicago Tribune

26-Foot Tall Marilyn Monroe statue. Happy now, Kiki? *g*

One of the highlights of the trip was the Shoreline Architectural River Cruise. I took a ton of pictures, but I'll try to control myself and just include some of the best ones.

Such as this one of jackycomelately and E sitting on our Chicago River chariot.

The Merchandise Mart

One of my favourites, 333 West Wacker Drive

Civic Opera Building

Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and 311 South Wacker Drive

The Chicago Board of Trade Building (with three-story Art Deco statue of Ceres)

The Chicago Fire Department rushes to extinguish a burning river piling...

But the water taxi has already taken care of the problem.

Top of the Carbide and Carbon Building. As you may have
noticed, the top resembles the neck of a champagne bottle.

Some of the beautiful Chicago skyline as seen from the Chicago River

After the river cruise had concluded, we walked along Navy Pier, where Edra and I indulged in some Häagen-Dazs. Then, we headed for the Willis Tower. For those of you who don't know, the Willis Tower was completed in 1973 and was the tallest building in the world at that time. Even now, it's an impressive 1451 feet (which, as the helpful information within the building explains, is the same height as 313 Oprah Winfreys and 289 Barrack Obamas). Below are some pictures I took from the Skydeck -- a whopping 1353 feet up. My ears actually popped on the elevator as it ascended all the way up to the Skydeck.

A view of the crown of 311 South Wacker. The translucent
cylinder (which is 105 feet tall) and the four surrounding
cylinders are lit at night by 1852 fluorescent tubes, which makes
this the most visible Chicago skyscraper when the sun goes down.





View through the glass floor of the Skydeck. I stood on it for at least 10-15 seconds.


E and jackycomelately placing one foot on the Skydeck

At the Willis Tower, I bought a number of souvenirs. I even brought back a little something for my action figures -- a replica of Willis Tower that was molded out of plastic right before my eyes thanks to this amazing machine.

Oh, come on! Seriously? Well, I guess this is what
happens when you buy two Master action figures.

After the Willis Tower, we decided to visit Union Station. E was hoping to find the stairs featured in The Untouchables, though we were all curious to see the place in general.

E and I think these are the stairs you can see in The Untouchables

jackycomelately really wanted to check out the Chicago Diner, which specializes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, so we took the El up north to hit the restaurant. We started off at Quincey Station, which is a beautiful example of what some of the older stations look like with their wooden platforms, etc.

On the following day, we visited the Chicago History Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Buckingham Fountain -- not to mention some other sights we also came across in our travels.

A fountain outside the Chicago History Museum

Interior of South Side Elevated Railroad car 1 (CTA 1)


Buckingham Fountain

Closer shot of Buckingham Fountain

Another close-up of Buckingham Fountain

Enjoying my Monster Cookie while admiring Buckingham Fountain

Crown Fountain

Chicago Theater

After our second day of sightseeing, we arrived back at the Springhill Mariott in time for the "Introduction to VividCon," which outlined what we could expect from our weekend. As I'm lazy, it's getting late, and a number of attendees have no doubt written con reports, I'll just say that the convention was fun, informative, and very interesting. I was impressed by how enthusiastic and helpful the organizers and volunteers were, not to mention the sheer professionalism of the whole affair. Everything ran like a well-oiled machine. The three of us attended most of the vidshows and panels, not to mention Club Vivid.

E and jackycomelately dressed to the nines for Club Vivid

There were so many fantastic vids that it's impossible to list them all. However, a VividCon Challenge vid called "I Swear" stands out in my mind because it was so frickin' HILARIOUS. While a number of vids made me teary-eyed, I was totally crying while watching this vid because I was laughing so hard. Even if you aren't a fan of Smallville, you really should check it out. I only watched the first season of the show and I had no trouble getting the humour.

Oh, thank Herne. I thought I'd never finish. Thanks to anyone who actually made it through this entire...whatever. It hardly seems likely, but if anyone wants to see any more pictures of Chicago, you can find my complete photo album here.

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