Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tuesday, June 29 & Wednesday, June 30: Chicago, IL

7/29/14- Day Off!

Emma and Claire came by the lot this morning and picked me up in the dancers' communal car. We drove downtown to the Museum of Science & Industry, and I was grateful that we made the trip in the girls' car since we were able to fit into the museum's parking garage.

When you buy a general admission ticket to the museum, you have the option of also purchasing access to other special exhibits as well.
We all opted to also pay for the Coal Mine exhibit, and the Treasures of Disney Vault, which is the museum's most recent, rotating exhibit.

I really enjoyed the Coal Mine exhibit, and if Emma hadn't suggested it (her father worked in a coal mine), I never would have thought to check it out.
Once our group was gathered together, our tour guide took us down into a "coal mine" in an elevator. There we learned about the different types of equipment used in coal mining, as well as the inherent dangers. We also got to ride in an underground train!
That exhibit really helped me understand how huge the museum is.

Next up we visited the Treasures of Disney's Vault exhibit, which told the story of Walt Disney (who was born in Chicago), focusing on his beginnings, the rise of Mickey Mouse, the great success of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, the process of Disney animation, and the construction of Disneyland.

 The actual storybook from the beginning of the film.
 Replica of an animator's desk
 Mary Poppins' magical hand bag
 An early Disneyland animatronic head
Animation maquettes from my favorite Disney cartoon, "Beauty and the Beast"

I really enjoyed seeing all the artifacts on display, and it was amazing to be reminded of how meticulous the Disney animators were when it came to studying movement and transferring it to paper and then to the screen.

At the conclusion of the Disney exhibit there was an animation lab where you could learn to draw various Disney characters.

All three of us tried our hand at drawing Mickey and Donald Duck.

 Mickey needs to lay off the cheese
Naturally I was more in tune with a duck

After seeing the two special exhibits, Claire, Emma, and I spent the rest of the afternoon going through the museum and enjoying all of the varied, entertaining, and interactive exhibits.

 Paul Jerome replica in the model circus
 Lou Jacobs replica in the model circus
 A great model of downtown Chicago
 Claire and Emma get in touch with their inner cowgirl
Penguin party!

Early in the evening we decided to head out, and the girls were nice enough to drive me to the nearest Metro stop, thereby saving me a lengthly walk or bus ride.
I jumped on a Red Line train which took me all the way to Wrigley Field, where I met up with my friend, Rick Purdue.

Rick was nice enough to buy us tickets for the Cubs Vs. Rockies game, which fulfilled my goal of seeing a baseball game at Wrigley Field, which is celebrating it's 100th birthday this year.

After getting my $11 hotdogs and $8.50 beer, we walked up to our seats, which afforded us a great view of the game.

I enjoyed being able to just sit back, relax, and turn my brain off while I watched the game, but we were both feeling a bit restless by the bottom of the 7th inning. It was a very slow game, and by that late in the game, over three hours in, the score was tied 3-3.
We decided to call it a night while it was still fairly early, and we walked to Rick's apartment, which was not far away.

It turns out that if we had stayed we would have been in the park until 1:30 a.m! That night's game, which began at 7:05 a.m, went down in history as the longest game (time wise) that the Cubs had ever played. The Cubs finally won 4-3 at the bottom of the 16th inning!
Even though we weren't there until the end, at least we can say we were there for almost half of that historic game!

Rick and his wife, Paula, were nice enough to let me spend the night at their beautiful apartment, which saved me a late, long, train ride home, and then a scary walk through the hood in the middle of the night.

7/30/14- 7:30 p.m.

This morning Rick walked me to the nearest train station. On the way we stopped and had breakfast at a great little cafe that he had been wanting to try out for awhile.

Once I got back to the lot I jumped in my truck and went to Walmart, where I received a much needed haircut from an incredibly OCD woman. She took forever making sure that every hair on my head was the exact same length.
After that hour and a half of my life was over, I picked up some meat for the barbecue after the show.

We had a very big, enthusiastic audience for the show tonight, which helped us get back into the swing of working after a day off.
Two little girls, Calina and Isabella, came up to me and Ryan after the show and gave us pictures that they had drawn of us.

There is no doubt that that is me and Ryan

After the show there was a barbecue/punch party thrown by the dancers. Everyone was invited to bring a punch they had made, and there were prizes for best taste and best presentation.

The esteemed judges

After the horrible hangover I suffered from the last barbecue, I made sure to keep well hydrated during the evening, and even though we had 13 different punches to sample, I tried to taste in moderation.

After tasting everything, Ryan and I retreated to my trailer to go over my notes and pick the winners. The hands down winner for best taste was Pompeyo's mother, who made a delicious punch that tasted like key lime pie. It was served in little cups with sour tasting powder around the top.

Best presentation was a toss up between the dancers' "Alice In Wonderland" themed punch served in a watermelon adorned with Lewis Carroll quotes, and Visan's candy apple punch, which was served in apples cut in half with caramel also inside. (Visan's punch was also a close runner up for best taste)

Visan pulled ahead and won best presentation because the dancers played a dirty trick on us.
In front of their watermelon was a little bottle labeled "Drink Me", just like in "Alice In Wonderland". After some prompting from the dancers, we took a swig from the bottle, only to discover that it was pure vodka!
The dancers all laughed as we gagged in response to the unexpected harshness of the alcohol. That little stunt cost them the prize!
(Well, that and they told us not to give them either of the prizes, two big bottles of alcohol.)

Ryan and I also made up a special award for Klaus, who made the most lethal punch at the party.
It almost killed us both, and soon everyone had to try the dangerous concoction.

Klaus enjoying his handiwork

Klaus later told me the secret recipe: a whole bunch of different alcohols with some cayenne pepper!

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