Bag of Randomness – Chicago Edition


  • I’m really only use to flying to NYC, Boston, and D.C., so I was expecting the flight to Chicago to be another beating, but thankfully and surprisingly it was only about an hour and forty-five minutes long.
  • After landing at O’Hare, we rode the subway, and upon exiting this sign caught my attention.  I’m guessing “Far Out” was a little further down.
  • While walking to our hotel, I saw the most interesting parking garage.  As with most of the pics I post today, you can biggify by clicking on them.
  • Our first place to eat as a nice little pizza place around the corner from our hotel, I can’t remember the name of the place, and I thought this was a smart way to conduct business.
  • I’ve never heard of Fannie May Chocolates, and usually when I try fancy chocolates I’m not impressed, but my goodness, that’s some of the best I ever had.
  • We took an architectural cruise tour which was very enjoyable.  We were first in line, and wanted to get good seats, so we arrived early and sat furthest back.  One problem, it made it hard to listen to the speaker, so I missed out on a lot of great information, and I’m actually into this kind of stuff.  One building that caught me attention was this building, because I couldn’t tell if it was a Holiday Inn, the home of the Chicago Sun-Times, or something else.
  • I thought it was a bit peculiar that a “V” was used instead of a “U” in the name of this building, but while watching Curb Your Enthusiasm last night (which was fantastic btw), the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown does the same thing.
  • For some reason Chicago has a Marilyn Monroe statue of an event that happened in NYC.  And I had no idea I can make my eye look so weird.
  • For some reason we were playing a doppelganger game most of the trip, and while doing so we found a guy that was a dead ringer for Albert Pujols who was taking a carriage ride with his wife and child.  But here’s the thing, it really was Albert Pujols.  I tried to snap a picture, but it came out blurry.  And every when yelling “ALBERT” to get his attention, the guy was really friendly.
  • The night ended with a meal at Ditka’s.  I had a the bone-in filet.  The food was OK, nothing great, but I was impressed to see several portraits of Tom Landry in the restaurant, I guess he really left an impression with the guy.  The other Cowboy surprise was an autographed picture of Craig Morton.
  • Overall first impressions: Chicago seems to be a newer, cleaner, and wider NYC.  I expected traffic to be really bad, but it never seemed horrific.  The homeless seem to be more prevalent, and they are a lot more open in asking for money than other places I have visited.  I felt a bit safer walking the streets of NYC than I did in Chicago, and I think that was because the areas of NYC that I walked through at night were more densely populated.  Oh, and the eye-candy was surprisingly better than I expected, so much so, I decided to play the How I Met Your Mother game Have You Met Ted with one of my friends about four times during the trip.


  • Our goals for today were to sleep in, visit the United Center, Millennial Park, Soldier Field, and watch the Rangers play the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
  • After sleeping in we at breakfast at a place called EATT.  Nothing really special, but I thought it would be funny to open a restaurant across the street and call it EEAT.
  • We decided to ride the subway to the United Center, and I noticed how the city keeps birds from hanging around.  You just don’t really think of this stuff when you don’t ride public transportation often.
  • We were heading to the United Center for the sole reason of looking at the Michael Jordan statue that sits out in front of one of its entrances.  For me it wasn’t a big deal to see the statue, but I think it was to some of my friends.  While riding on the subway, we noticed we passed the complex, but one kid was kind enough to tell us what to do at the next stop, basically walk a few blocks and ride the bus for a lot of stops.  Only problem, well, there’s fish out of water, and then there was us.  It could not be more possible for anyone to be more out of place than four white Texans and one half-Asian wearing a backpack and all of us in full Rangers fan gear through the south side of Chicago.  It was just a neighborhood that I didn’t feel safe in, and it’s amazing that nothing happened.
  • One sign that you don’t see in Texas “Do Not Park When It Snows Over Two Inches”.
  • We finally made it to the statue.  Here’s Jordan dunking on me.  Here’s a picture of all of us in our Texas Rangers garb standing in front of it.  And here’s a picture of some girls we met jumping in front of the statue.
  • After the United Center we arrived at Millennium Park.  That’s where you see that giant reflective jelly bean thingy.  If you look closely, you can spot me in the reflection.
  • Even though Chicago never reached the 90’s in the day we did get a little warm with all our walking.  So we chilled in the Soldier Field Pro Shop for a while.  Some of us had more fun than others.
  • After our visit to Soldier Field we thought it was time to make it to U.S. Cellular Field to watch the Rangers play the White Sox.  We wanted to get there in plenty of time to watch batting practice, and while waiting for the gates to open, one of us made an astonishing observation.  The tickets in hand were for tomorrow’s game.  The plan for the day was to watch the White Sox tonight, and the Cubs tomorrow.  But as you can probably figure out, yup, the ticket dates and games were confused which means we missed the Cubs game that was played earlier that day, a game that ended in victory for the Cubs with a walk-off-homer.  #majorfail
  • We made the best of the mistake.  When we took the walk of shame back to subway and to the hotel we confirmed the ticket mishap and then bought tickets online for the next day.  The seats would not be as great, but hey, it’s Wrigley, and for a sports fan this far away from the Windy City, it’s like a once in a lifetime experience.  We’d just have to leave the game early to catch the Rangers/Sox game across town.  Just one problem . . . rain in the forecast.
  • The rest of the evening was spent at the legendary Giordano’s pizza.  The wait was roughly two hours.  We had to wait an hour and fifteen minutes just to order the pizza, which took 45 minutes to cook, and then had to wait the 45 minutes just to be seated.  So how great was the pizza?  I can’t really say because I started to feel ill and only had a few bites.  As a matter of fact, I had a case of violent diarrhea.  Yes, I’ll spare you the details, but that evening and the rest of the night I visited the bathroom about seven times.
  • Oh yeah, and to add a bit of fuel to the fire, I found out that my hosting company suspended this blog for something I had no idea about while checking email on my phone.  Funny thing, but this is the first trip I took without a laptop thinking it would be a liberating experience, so there was no way for me to research and fix the issue.  Thankfully I have a great friend in BibleScholarGeorge that is knowledgeable in databases and trusty with passwords, and willing to help a chubby half-Asian friend out.


  • Due to the violet diarrhea and the all-nighter I pulled, I slept in while my friends visited the Doughnut Vault.  As one of my friends put it, “You only put special things in a vault, and these are doughnuts, so they have to be freaking great.”  Even though my friends really enjoyed that experience of waiting over an hour in line for a doughnut (for one, the best doughnut he has ever eaten), they did get drenched when a storm rolled in.  Breakfast for me was several doses of Immodium AD.
  • My buddies came back after breakfast and when it was time for all of us to head out to Wrigley, the first thing on our agenda was to make a poncho/umbrella run.  Thankfully it only rained during this run and not while we were at either venue.
  • Wrigley was a beautiful, almost spiritual place.  I think the atmosphere outside of Fenway was a bit more festive when I saw the Red Sox play a few years back, maybe on par with what I found at old Yankee Stadium, but Wrigley was just as lively and special in its own way.  We caught about four good innings before heading out.  I would have rather stayed at Wrigley until the seventh inning at least, but I was in the minority.  Surprisingly there were a lot of Cardinals fans at the game, I guess I just never realized there was a rivalry.  I just wish my stomach was settled enough to try some great ballpark food.  Instead, I settled on crackers . . . all day.  Here’s a picture from our seats.  The Cubs also sell a lot of standing room only tickets, here’s a picture of where those tickets place ya, and here’s the view.  Another surprise for me at both games was a raffle for the fans – you just don’t see that in Texas.
  • It was time to change shirts on my way to U.S. Cellular to something more Ranger friendly.  It was interesting to see just how many Rangers fans were at the game, and as silly as that whole claw and antlers thing is, it was nice as a fan to have something to display to another Ranger fan from across the way.  One White Sox fan yelled “What are you doing here, go back to your own country.”  I just replied, “Hey, where just wanting to support the local economy.”  I thought it would be funny if I could get one of my friends to wear a “Perry 2012” shirt to the game in Obama’s adopted home town, but there where no takers.
  • There really wasn’t anything special about U.S. Cellular field, but it was fun to be in another ballpark.  Well, I did think having a restaurant in the outfield was kind of cool.  Something else you just don’t see at Texas is a shoe shine stand at the ballpark.  Oddly enough, they did have a Tex-Mex stand, and did you know for $11 you can buy a life size batting helmet full of nachos?  I thought my friends were going to be a bit docile watching the game being out of towners and all, but that surely didn’t happened.  Maybe it should have since we lost the game.  We sat in foul ball territory not far from the field on the first base line.  It was bobblehead night, and I gave my to some kid was just full of joy receiving it.
  • Here’s a view from our seats.
  • I forget what inning it was, but the White Sox will let the kids announce all the batters.  Now that’s pretty cool.
  • I had to end the night early while all my friends went out to the Navy Pier.  As lucky as I was not to have any digestive issues at either game, my luck was running out.


  • Due to my digestive issues, I missed breakfast/brunch at the Bill Goat Tavern before heading back to airport.  Thankfully I made the trip home without any incident, but the lady next to me eating tuna salad didn’t help.  When it comes to disgusting smelling food, tuna is at the top of the list followed by hard boiled eggs.
  • One of my buddies stopped at a McDonald’s to use the restroom before heading to the airport only to find a dead body inside a stall.  He told the manager who called the police and my friend had to stay and make a statement.  The cop told my buddy that this sort of thing with the homeless happens more often than one would think.
  • When I got home I decided to weigh myself.  I lost six pounds during this trip.
  • I hope I don’t have to travel for a long time, but it’s such a blessing to be able to attend such events with my closest friends.
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6 Responses to Bag of Randomness – Chicago Edition

  1. Mtoots says:

    I believe you had a GREAT time t/ some super-good friends!! Glad you are home…..and I'm sure your wife and daughter are also! We enjoyed them while you were gone…….but glad all are back on "home plate".

  2. Alex says:

    I find it really interesting that all of the cars in that parking garage backed in to their spots.

  3. chigrl says:

    We are from Chicago and now live inTexas, next time be sure to check out the museum of science and industry. Full size steam train engines, 737 airplane, toy factory, U505 submarine, HO train layouts, coal mine. You can spend 3 days there and not see everything. We enjoy your blog

  4. Tim says:

    the name of the first pizza place we ate was State Street Pizza.

  5. zChicago says:

    What you called a parking lot is a condominium building called Marina Towers and is designed to look like corncobs. Here's the link to the Wikipedia article. It's just the lower part that's a parking lot. I'm glad you enjoyed visiting Chicago, despite your tummy problems.

  6. Brokelyn says:

    Former Chicagoan, currrent Houstonian. Sorry to hear about the gastro problems, but thanks for the fun play by play. Chicago is incredible in the summer! You did a great job of hitting some highlights — if you ever return try to time it to hit Blues Fest, Taste of Chicago, the Air and Water Show, a Cubs game (but this time in the bleachers — there's absolutely nothing like it even in Boston). Hit State Street in the evening (Ditka's is good, but there's even better).
    As always, Thanks for (Bag of) Nothing!

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