Sunday, October 16, 2011

About one game and the day the buildings opened their doors

Last week's Monday night game in Detroit was best categorized as a fiasco for every single member of the team except for one standout guy. The Bears defense, known for being hard-hitting, tough, and determined was quite opposite. The offense was, as my friend at work said, offensive. After the game, everyone except the standout guy was almost apologizing; they're professional athletes and mammoth salaries mean you don't have to come out and say, "I bit and I am sorry." Brian Urlacher sounded dismayed at his and the performances of his fellow defensive linemen.   Lovie Smith sounded miserable. But everyone named the one guy who did a good job. No one is more surprised than me. The guy doing the stellar job was Jay Cutler.

When the offense, the defense, and the coaches all say Jay did a great job then Jay must've done a great job. Jay looked sheepish and frustrated but he wasn't arrogant or annoyed. Jay did his job with great gusto while his teammates were sluggish. Everyone else ate chili with beans and cut-up hot dogs, extra-large malts, and double orders of fries drowned in ketchup while Jay obviously ate nothing that would make him play like a giant child. Wah wah wah, y'all. If I am complimenting Jay Cutler, then the rest of the team and the coaching staff need to get it together and play like for-real adult pro football players. Congrats to Jay (and, of course, to Robbie Gould who always holds up his part of the bargain).

The Lions maul the Bears so badly we can't recognize them: Detroit 24, Bears 13.

Next week I'll yammer on about the game tonight against the Vikings and next week's WTF game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London, England.  Seriously, the NFL doesn't ask me about these things ahead of time so don't blame me for them.

This weekend, the Chicago Architecture Foundation worked with dozens of buildings and companies to allow visitors to stroll through all day for two days, October 15 and 16.   Called Open House Chicago, my sister, brother-in-law, and I took advantage of the opportunity to go inside buildings we either didn't know about or would not have been able to otherwise access.

Indoor pool at Park Gables
We drove north to visit Indian Boundary Park but especially to see the pools at Park Castle and Park Gables, condo buildings that look out over the lush park. Each has its own pool built in 1925 and 1927, respectively. Gorgeous and free for the condo owners to use, the pools reminded me that just because a building has something as lovely as this doesn't mean I could live there -- the parking bites, the public transportation is difficult, and there are no nearby grocery stores. However, wow, that these two places still exist makes me very happy.

Emil Bach House
Our next successful visit was to the Emil Bach House, the 1915 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence at 7415 N. Sheridan Road.  How often does anyone actually get to walk around in a Frank Lloyd Wright House?  Almost never, I say.

This is called a compact Prarie House for good reason:  the rooms are eensy by today's standards (the kitchen was just a slice) and the closets are either tiny or nonexistent.  The ceilings are low but, bottom line, if someone handed me the keys and advised that this was now my home, I would have to think about it.  The neighborhood is sketchy, public transportation is not terrible but the commute would be long, and there are no grocery stores nearby.

Ceiling at Second Federal Savings
Driving south and west took us to the Second Federal Savings at 26th and Pulaski.  None of us knew this place existed and it was a revelation.  Look at this ceiling!  The original wooden teller counters remain.  Sometime, someone might have said, "We need to modernize this place," but then thought better of it.  Good news for us.

An owl, not Batman, on library
We visited the Fisher Building, designed in 1896 by Daniel Burnham, now redone as an apartment building.  The halls are charmingly reproduced to resemble an office building of that time, names of bogus companies stenciled on each apartment door.  The apartment was a generic-loft presentation -- way too cramped for my taste -- but looking out over the Harold Washington Branch of the Chicago Public Library.  Seeing that building from that particular vantage point was a thrill but I wouldn't want to live there -- quarters were too close and I am just one person.

Lake Michigan through the porthole at Santa Fe Building

Years ago, I was a reservations agent at Amtrak and the office was at the Railway Exchange Building, designed in 1904 by Daniel Burnham and now termed the Santa Fe Building because of the Santa Fe sign on top.  Amtrak was on the top floor and the offices were pretty darn terrible -- so terrible that I don't recall the round windows being in our office at all.  The same space is now occupied by Goettsch Partners, an architecture firm with a major worldwide presence.  Their offices are lovely and they gave tours all around their floor.  For me, the money shot was one of Lake Michigan through one of the round windows.  I have mentioned before that I am a nervous photographer so when I put up my camera and did the deed, I assumed it would be totally effed.  I am pleased with it and was pleased with the whole day.

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