Posts/August, 2007/

Chicago Trip

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

I’m heading home from Chicago tonight on an aging United 737. I’ll keep this brief: Sam Reimi dropped the ball on Spiderman 3. It’s pretty horrible in general, especially in many lines of dialogue that seem so out of place as to be laughable. The villains are weird in the wrongs ways, the action is relentless, and the tone shifts schizophrenically. The director tries too hard to manufacture emotional moments, and takes the lazy route of having the characters speak to each other in themes. Even worse, he’s just taking things too seriously.

The trip to Chicago was only for two days, but it felt much longer. A large group of people from work came out to present creative and media strategies to the client who’s headquartered there. I had never been to Chicago before, and overall it feels like a cross between Dallas and New York. Dallas because of the heat and laid back feeling for an urban area, the latter because of it’s size, variety, history and sense if purpose. I chewed neither hot dog nor deep dish pizza, but I consumed enough other delicious food to weave an eternal golden braid. The hotel was nice, the people were nice, the presentation went well. It was refreshing to see the inner working of a new company, seeing how it differs from my own. The office towers may have been full of boring cubicles, but most of the people we met belied their surroundings. Working in a fancy pants ad agency, I kind of buy into us being weirder or more interesting than the average work environment. But it’s not as true as everyone thinks. Within every organization I’ve been there’s always a variety of people: brain dead bores, rebels, weirdos, talkers, sad sacks, leaders, story tellers, mystics. The ratios and extremes may vary from place to place, but people will be people. As much chest thumping and Koolade drinking as a company does, its still just a company. And if we accept that we are all sort of lame for prostituting our time, I think we could start taking a more balanced view of work.

A business trip is like being a kid again. Mommy corporation is giving you a place to stay, food, a reason to travel. All you have to do in return is love it back, or at least not bite the teat too much. But Mommy also spoils her babies. They start to expect all these luxuries on a trip, they begin to feel entitled to them. In complaining about little inconveniences or meals not served right, they are losing a sense of humility. To be given free food and fancy places to sleep means you’re fortunate. And if you lose the ability to appreciate it, what does all the finery mean?

I guess this is a roundabout way of telling you I feel fortunate. And that I want to go back and watch me some cable tvs while eating candy in a bathrobe.

Here are some photos, starting with a few from Portland before the trip:

Pouring cement on an expansion to the lightrail track.

People playing extreme croquet in the Park Blocks. Dressed in costume, they substituted the traditional equipment for bowling balls, sledgehammers, and rebar wickets.

Me throwing a soccer ball with my feet. This was the end to an afternoon of frisbee, ball kicking, and a hybrid game that involved both. To play, I had to throw the soccer ball in the air while a frisbee was being thrown to me, then catch both. I called this a DOUBLE. Later in soccer, I patented a ball stopping move called THE BUTT BLOCK.

Now in Chicago. A tunnel under Lakeshore Drive to the lake.

Part of the city at night as seen from the lake.

Mysterious door.

Beautiful old buildings along the Chicago River.

Under the L-train tracks.

Massive old building.

The corn shaped building on the Wilco album cover.

A serious meeting moment.

Garbage on snack table.

What ever happened to her, I wondered at lunch.

I want to go back for a longer stay.

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