A Brief History of Chicago, Part IV

Hotels are like libraries, except we are the ones checked out and generally are not returned in two weeks. We checked out in the morning, picked up Aspie, and drove over to Milwaukee which is the largest city in Wisconsin, and next to the lake. The international student had a friend there and he went for lunch with her. She was a similar Asian grad student except she was in Econ and went to Marquette (an extremely white campus founded by Jesuits).

She took us to an insipid local diner with some of the worst food I’ve ever had. I ordered a chef’s salad and it was more meat than vegetable. In a restaurant that I’m not sure of, I’ll generally order a salad because they’re hard to fuck up. But these guys were severely inept, and the restaurant was relatively full. Also the waitresses were fat old white women and the customers were fat white people. Three Asians and a Jew did not fit in. This diner was visited by the Clintons in the past and by the Obama wife recently, and they had a life-size cardboard cutout of her in the middle of the restaurant. It also did not fit in. Everyone at my table appeared to hate the food.

So we each had a little detour (me, Aspie, and international) where we visited a friend. International’s friend was well-adjusted and somewhat attractive, Aspie’s friend was really weird but he’s an artist and was raised my missionaries so his upbringing permanently fucked him up, no getting around that. But my friend was really weird and short and fat and read fantasy novels and laughed at Tolkien jokes. So maybe meeting people on the internet isn’t a great way to make a lot of well-adjusted attractive people.

We made it back to Minneapolis (the intermediate rest stop in Wisconsin was lovely) and I was dropped off at around 7 PM.  It was 80 degrees out and I was too tired to be unusual.

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Interview theory meets interview practice

So, I had an interview for a random pharm intern position with CVS today. A ton of people apply basically anyone who hasn’t found an intern position yet has applied. And that’s fine because CVS has immeasurably immense numbers of potential openings in a major metropolitan area.

I theorized that I could talk about playing video games at an interview when prompted about teamwork because the ones that I play depend heavily on teamwork.

So the interview happens, and he gives me a teamwork question, and I give my video game analogy for two minutes. Theory into practice.

Then he gives me another one.

And then another one.

And I’ve started talking about playing video games competitively, going to tournaments, etc (all made up, but who cares?) and he keeps on pitching these questions to me, and I keep paddling up shit creek because I keep on talking about playing video games. I almost wanted to laugh during the interview. I fucking hate behavioral interviewing. It wasn’t even like, I have some behavioral questions and I have some other ones to get to know who you are. It just kept on giving iterations of DESCRIBE A SITUATION WHEN YOU USED TEAMWORK SYNERGY LEADERSHIP TO ACCOMPLISH X.

It was fucking painful. So half the interview was essentially me talking about playing video games.

I come out of it and talk to Aspie, and he criticized me for doing it and says “Didn’t you do teamwork stuff yesterday? And did you win money for doing teamwork stuff?”

Yes to both. I’m really bad at behavioral interviewing.

A Brief History of Chicago, Part III

We went to have lunch at some sushi place. It was a Japanese/Chinese combo place. I miss the sushi place back in Berkeley. It had the right proportions of everything. I don’t want to buy like 12 pieces of sashimi, I would probably throw up from that much raw fish. I want like, 4. And I don’t want like a 9-piece roll of big sushi. I want like, 3 or 4. So the sushi in Chicago wasn’t any good at all and I wasn’t particularly pleased. But then we still had some time on our parking so we went into a used bookstore and then Urban Outfitters. I bought a cardigan. So it goes.

This was a neighborhood a few miles down from Logan Square. It was replete with hipsters, including one wearing skinny jorts walking a dog with a green bandana to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Then we drove downtown because the fobby international student wanted to see Millennium Park, which I can only assume was built in 2000 or named after the Millennium Falcon. Hopefully the former, as being into Star Wars is currently not in vogue.  The problem with this plan was parking. We started driving at 5 PM, it by the time we found a spot, it was dark outside. Millennium Park is mostly concrete, about the size of a city block in the center of downtown. It had these giant 3-story frosted glass obelisks on which different colors and human faces were projected. Installation art needs to die quickly.

This is also the site of “the bean” which is a bean-shaped structure that is reflective and people use it as a mirror to take funny pictures. It’s about two stories tall and maybe 6 meters in diameter or so. You can stand under the minor groove of the bean and it’s concave, or go to the outside where it’s convex and you can think about focal points and inverted images and other things you learn in your university physics class.

The buildings around were much more interesting. One of them had a Blue Cross/Blue Shield logo at the top of it. I suspect that it was a major office of said corporation. Another of them had what I can only presume to be a hashtag #54 written on its side using the lights of the office as pixels. Finally, someone gets me.

Then we went for Mexican food because we were going to meet Aspie’s friend there, but he never showed. I wasn’t going to get anything because I don’t really like Mexican food, and Aspie has a diet I can only describe as influenced by intense amounts of Asperger’s. But then the restaurant brings out really awesome chips and salsa gratis, so I felt compelled to buy something and I ordered a mediocre burrito. I had carne asada. Fobby international student orders beef tongue. Gross.

Then I had to meet my friend who was getting off work and parted way with my pharmacy classmates. I met her on the internet, no judgement. I might write a future bit on internet friends, but there’s this massive stigma towards meeting people on the internet that they’re all rapists or something. Anyway, she was slightly more awkward in real life and shorter and fatter than I imagined. So it goes. We took the Blue Line to her place and met with this Indian dude from the same internet group. It was fine and then I went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

A Brief History of Chicago, Part II

My international student friend really wanted to see the statue of Michael Jordan. We pick up Aspie from his friend’s place in Logan Square (an increasingly gentrified neighborhood with 2-bedroom apartments in the $800 range). Logan Square is a bunch of those really old townhouses clustered next to each other, populated mostly by college-educated young people transitioning out of youth into the sad downslide of adult life.

It’s a lot like The Mission in SF or Lake Merritt in Oakland only not filled with hipsters.

The international student really wanted to see the statue of Michael Jordan at the United Center because he’s into really trashy shit that poor Americans like. The United Center is the stadium where the Chicago bulls play. It’s sponsored by the airline United. The statue is the characteristic dunk over some literally faceless opponent and vaguely reminiscent of raising the flag over Mt Suribachi at Iwo Jima. The statue was outside. The auditorium wasn’t open to the public. They were having some sort of high school cheerleading event inside. I don’t really remember what we did after that but I was bored the whole time.

I suppose we must have had lunch and dinner somewhere. I vaguely remember walking around downtown at night but don’t remember why. It doesn’t matter.

We spent the last bit of the night at Aspie’s friend’s apartment. His friend was this art major who’s relatively successful. He has a day job doing some sort of QA. But he also paints and does projection stuff. He wrote a grant to Burning Man and his writing is atrocious. His apartment was hot and everyone walked around with their shirts off except for me because I have standards. We watched some random stuff on Netflix for PS3. I put on two episodes of Portlandia, but my international friend didn’t understand it. He also doesn’t understand Family Guy. He doesn’t know if the Brian is a man or a dog.

My international friend kept on talking about how much he liked Chicago. I tuned him out, but all I could do was sit there thinking about how trashy of a person he was. Of course he likes Chicago. He also likes eating family-sized buckets by himself at KFC. His iPod was filled with Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, and Taylor Swift and he’s not embarrassed by it. It’s not like he has some incidental songs from middle school — the bulk of the iPod was composed of those three artists. He really likes shopping at JC Penney. And finally, the last piece of the puzzle, he really likes Chicago. Home of the tragic vulgarities of Rahm Emanuel and Rod Blagojavich, where people drive like idiots and Polish people have a bunch of interracial children. It’s exactly the kind of disgusting caricature of America that must make it so attractive to poor people and immigrants who get their conceptions of what America is by watching Friends. The lesson today is that Chicago is for poor people. Maybe not economically poor, but for people who are human garbage littering the streets of the processions of the dead.

Chicago is where trash lives. Florida is where trash goes to die.

A Brief History of Chicago, Part I

I went to Chicago over spring break. I don’t really like traveling, and I don’t like Chicago, so this was an odd choice. Also I wanted to study over spring break for a midterm I took today, so it wasn’t as productive as I would have hoped. But surely I did not go when I only had this factors pushing me away from it. My Irish friends who are currently living in Toronto wanted to go to Chicago for St Patrick’s Day and they planned to drive down. Also I had some other friends in Chicago whom I could have hung out with, and some of the other pharmacy students were down for the trip to Chicago in some form. Short story short, the Irish didn’t go and I let Aspie and my international student friend plan it out, and we end up renting a car and driving to Chicago for four days. It was quite economical to travel with people. The transportation/lodging/parking and stuff cost me $200, I dunno how much food was. Not too much. And I spent like $130 on clothes, updating my spring collection because a bunch of my clothes are still back in California in Josh’s garage.

So we drive from Minneapolis, which is like 45 minutes from the border with Wisconsin apparently. Wisconsin has nice rest stops, but the people there are fat. We passed near Madison, but I never saw any hint of city. We also stopped for gas in Beloit, which is an immensely poor area with a private liberal arts college in the middle of it. It is a school to be avoided. Illinois is filled with toll roads. It cost $8 to drive from Wisconsin to Chicago. The hotel was near O’Hare which is serviced by the Blue Line, a kind of intermediate rail/subway that most major cities have. The different lines have different colors. The Red Line goes south to where Obama used to do community stuff. I was not at all tempted to visit the South Side of Chicago, both for safety reasons and the fact that it would bring me perilously close to Indiana.

So after a long drive we got some food and went back to the hotel. My international friend wanted to eat at a Korean buffet but I vehemently objected as I hated Korean food. Kimchee is disgusting and unfit for human consumption. Aspie crashed with a friend from college, while I crashed with my international student friend. The weather was nice, like a high of 80 which was odd because a week before it was below freezing. We must have reached some sort of inflection point in the weather. But it was hot as hell in the hotel and the AC was loud. I slept slightly below average.

The next day we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. It has kind of Greek architecture on the outside but it’s a really boring museum on the inside. It’s full of random shit like cars and mockups of rockets and a German U-boat and I basically knew all of the knowledge inside of it so I was just bored. The parking was $20. We had lunch at a pizza place that served deep dish. It was find. It wasn’t better than Zachary’s back in Oakland. Then we went to the Lake. It was Lake Michigan. The coast was concrete and lacked any sort of beach-like property at all. You can’t see the other side of it and it’s slightly lighter in color than the Northern Pacific. A highway runs along the coast. People in Illinois drive poorly. Then we went downtown to do a spot of shopping. But we parked in a 2-hour spot and we spent both hours at H&M. Downtown Chicago is standard big-city fare with terrible traffic, drivers who block the intersections, no parking, and a population with a high BMI.

I wasn’t enamored with the city, but I held really radical and bizarre notions of Chicago. The whiff of turn-of-the-century meatpacking, nouveau riche human scum, refrigerated cars, trains filled with sawdust, uneducated Eastern European immigrants, and the setting of the TV show Family Matters marked by the dreaded auspices of Steve Urkel all mingle to dissipate any positive view of Chicago I could possibly take. But that leads me to the first lesson: Chicago is just another city that I don’t enjoy visiting.

Housing

I went to Chicago. Might post more about it later. This bit is about housing.

Obviously I have roommate problems. Hamburger Helper kinda knew that she wasn’t really wanted and she’s moving out of her own volition. Dacia wants to stay because she can’t save money by moving. She’s cheap and gross and a bunch of other adjectives. Sticks wants to stay because he likes the house. I want to stay because I’d prefer to live with people, but not the current people.

Mystique is interesting. She initially wanted to live with me and Sticks at some other apartment complex that we were applying for, but she later decided that she wanted to live elsewhere. So she told Sticks but not me that she wanted to live alone and would look for places by herself. But her dropping out would require that Sticks and I do something bureaucratic and horrible. She sent me an email a few days ago that was really long about how she didn’t plan on living with us because she wanted a more home-y feel or whatever when her husband visited. But it’s funny that she waited three months to tell me because Sticks basically told me right after she told him. I could tell that she felt really bad so I guess I’m flattered that she was so direly concerned about offending me or whatever.

So yeah. Mystique is really cool still and next year it’s this same house but we’re convinced to landlords to rent to just me and Sticks so Dacia has to move out. (Because Sticks and I would move out if she stayed and she didn’t want to have to find four people to live here… so she didn’t have much of a choice.)

Rotation sites >.<

Got my site for my rotation this summer. I have to do three weeks in Elk Grove, which is like 30 miles away.  And it’s at a Walgreens. Ugh. It’s the worst of all possible worlds. Maybe I need a car. Or maybe there’s some terrible bus line that goes that far. Disgusting.