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Living In Chicago

Given that I’ll be heading back to Indiana tomorrow, might as well reflect on how my Summer was.

<Disclaimer> This is will not be about Argonne, at all. I am still figuring out how to write about that. </Disclaimer>

So, I have now spent three months in the bustling metropolis of Chicago. Technically, I have been in the suburbs, living in Brookfield. My major complaint is the obvious one, the damn traffic.

This actually pisses me off.

I did enjoy that there are bike trails everywhere, but the necessity of taking them to work some days destroyed my enthusiasm. When the 1.25 hours it takes me to bike eleven miles (avg. speed: 8.8mph) is faster than driving on a highway, I give up.

I didn’t really do anything in Chicago, so there’s always that. I saw the heart of downtown this week, which was, in a few words, impressive at scale. After taking my Honda Element around everywhere, the Metra was a nice change of pace.

Driving at very early hours in the morning was fun. Everything is lit up, as if the area is completely different. Taking the Skyway was super cool, albeit expensive. ($5.30)

The picture above is every independent location I stopped at, essentially being my entire Summer in review. A few places stood out:

MicroCenter and Fry’s, both being big-box stores for computer hardware. Highly recommended if you want to try or see something in person before buying it. Their prices are actually comparable to Amazon and generally cheaper than Newegg.

Tony’s 24Hr Diner in Brookfield. I have to admit, their skillets are superb, especially at 3AM. I made it a habit to go there early on Friday.

FreeGeek. The store is hard to find and kinda sketchy, but if you need older hardware on the cheap, they are a lot easier than checking every goodwill in the area (which I did). I also appreciate that they teach rudimentary classes in computer science, although I have not attended one.

Overall, I don’t think I’m qualified to talk at length about the Chicago area, because I kept to myself. In such a large densely populated place, it feels ironically lonely. The best summary of my time there would be this: There is so much to do, I didn’t end up doing anything, not from lack of desire, but from an overabundance of options.