That Toddling Town

That Toddling Town

I spent this Pre-St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Chicago. And I can’t get over how much I digg that town.

I know that like three months in, its exactly the same as anywhere else. Eventually the novelty wears off, and reality sets in. But I like the reality of life in chicago. I’ll go point for point.

01 > Public Transportation

The L, trains and buses make having a car in Chicago not only pointless, but in most cases just plain stupid. You can get anywhere at pretty much anytime with the insertion of a ticket. Goodbye sober driver, goodbye searching for parking, goodbye oil changes, tune-ups, flat tires, auto insurance and fender benders. Hello public transportation.

02 > Seemingly Endless Burrows

According to Wikipedia (which never lies) Chicago has a total of 77 community areas. Most of which have a distinct personality, unique attractions and convenient accessibility (see #1). When I ride the L, it seems like stop after stop has something of interest. I feel like I keep catching myself saying “this looks like a cool area.” Now I know it’s not all fun and games, and you have to be careful in all areas of Chicago, but even more so in some. But I feel like the extensive population and urban integration leads to a much more vibrant culture and thus a exponentially more fulfilling city.

03 > Great Food

Pizza, Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Brazilian, Chinese, Thai… The list goes on. The more cultural diversity and people looking for food, the better variety and quality. The best part about food in Chi-town, is that usually you walk about a mile before and after you eat, forcing the much needed exercise you need to eat all that delicious food.

04 > A Surplus of Parks and Recreation

I’m sucker for parks. Its good for communities, kids, dogs and most importantly me. I get 60% more exercise when I live near a park than when I don’t. Well, this weekend I stayed in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, and I kid you not, there was a park spanning both sides of Lakeshore Drive all the way to the city. Thats at least 3 miles of park right there.

05 > Lake Michigan and Subsequent Beaches

The lake is big. It has beaches. It looks cool. I can make sand castles and get a tan. I can kayak or play on wave runners. Sand volleyball and soccer, frisbee or just a little wading in the water or swimming. It’s all good. Sure it’s not the ocean, sure it might be a bit dirty or cold, but in the midwest we take what we can get.

06 > Awesome Skyline and Architecture

The Sears (or I guest Willis) Tower, regardless of it’s height, is a spec in an ocean of amazing architecture that Chicago features. Its post-fire reconstruction yielded a renaissance of architecture and engineering spearheaded by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright. I can’t help but be awed by what I see when I stop and take a look around that city, from Navy Pier to Naperville the city looks incredible. But my favorite view has to be as you step out of an L station tunnel. You are consumed by the expansiveness of it all. Its breath taking, usually because of the freezing cold, and bone chilling wind, but also because of its beauty.

07 > The Cubs

I don’t like the Cubs. In fact I typically smile when they lose. I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and I always will be. But for that reason, I respect The Cubs. I’ll even root for them if The Cardinals are out of the running. I like our rivalry. I like seeing Cubs fans in St. Louis for games and I would like to be a cards fan at games in Chicago (as long as I don’t get stabbed or something). For whatever reason I think it sounds like a lot of fun to be there and cheering for The Cards, like I’m doing my part for the cause.

08 > Michigan Ave at Christmas Time

The best stores, tons of people, christmas music in the air, the smell of foods and chocolate, street performers, marketing promotions and the sounds of the city. Freezing cold makes you get all bundled up, wearing awesome scarves and gloves, maybe a stocking cap, I don’t know. I know I’d hate the lines, but it just sounds like a perfect Christmas to me.

09 > Big City “Street Cred”

Nough’ said… you are immediately cooler than 2/3 of the country if you live in Chicago or a big city. Others will deny that, but they know, deep down, that it’s true. I’m not knocking small towns or rural areas. Thats where I’m from, I have had a great life and I’m really cool. There are thing to experience in a quainter, more condensed community that can never be experienced in the Chicago’s of the U.S.A. But there’s just more unique city experiences, and also something raw about living in the city that can’t be topped. It is universally accepted as the dominant form of living.

10 > Style

We discussed this subject this weekend and here’s my theory. I think the average Chicagoan is more stylish and fashionable than the average St. Louisan or the like. It’s not because the people are cooler in reality. I think it has to do with exposure to other people, and thus other people style. On an average St. Louis day, I might see/be seen by 35 – 75 people, the entire day. I get up, see my wife, walk the dog, a few neighbors, get in my car, go to work, some people on the street, coworkers, get done, a few more on my way back to car, home to wife, neighbors, maybe a restaurant… In Chicago that number is exponentially larger. You are exposed to a hundreds upon hundreds of people in just the morning. And so are they. When people have to be seen by a lot more people they tend to care more about how they look, and thus style ensues. Second, I think that with so many people in what can be looked at as a mindless heard of sheep it can be important for some to stand out from the crowd more. Thus fashion, tattoos, piercing etc. are more prevalent. Plus, living up to the street cred mentioned in #9 can be a factor.

I know, I know… this blog post has no point. So as I hang my head in shame, let me end it like I ended english papers in High School. So, all in all I am fond of the Windy CIty, and plan to move there at some point in my life. Thank you.

Maybe I’ll let my boys The Hood Internet explain Chicago through mash-ups, maybe that will end this post on a high note.

The Hood Internet vs Chicago by hoodinternet

Fun work

Martin Luther King Tribute

I wanted to attempt this style  in February, and being Black History Month I chose the Rev. as my muse.

His face is made up of the words of his epic Lincoln Memorial “I have a dream…” speech.

Take a look. I am having it framed as I type.

Smoking Goat Branding

I like beer.

Beer high in flavor, alcohol and price. I brew at home, but wouldn’t consider myself very good at this point. I’m working on it.

We have friends in Louisiana who I would consider really good. I designed some branding for their forthcoming brewery down there.

The Smoking Goat will hopefully be amazing, especially if I get some good beer out of the deal.

Have a look. Then drink a beer and have a look again. Continue this process until the logo looks awesome.

New Poster

This is a poster I made for my buddy Dustin.

A classic quote from him as we drove by Effingham, IL’s infamous and huge cross.

I thought it would look good in his new apartment.

Sheltered Perceptions

I recently got the chance to work on a project for the Humane Society. Given the fact that every time I walk into an animal shelter I have to be talked down from taking home every animal in the place, I was happy to help in anyway I could.

With the majority of pet buying in the United States coming from breeders, mall pet shops and unfortunately mills, animal shelters (specifically the Humane Society) are left overflowing with pets that need loving homes. They are running into a perception problem however, and many misconceptions about shelter pets are accepted as fact, and often repeated as such.

To get past this, we decided to take the problem head on, and address the most common misconceptions individually.

Here is where we landed:

Humane Society - Misconceptions"Mutt"

Humane Society - Misconceptions - "Bark"

Lauren and Dan sit’n in a tree…

My good friend Lauren is getting married in July, and though I am extremely jealous of her fiance Dan (don’t tell my wife), I made their save the date cards.

I use VistaPrint to print these types of things. Though the quality suffers, and the rumor is that they are destroying local community printers nationwide, for the price they can’t be beat. Check them out next time you want to customize your own holiday card or invitation.

Here’s how Lauren’s STDs turned out: