Memes and Memories

October 17, 2022

With the scavenger hunt complete (and the associated blog posts), you may be asking, how did I get there? How did I, the fairly quiet college kid originally from the deep suburbs of Massachusetts, the same dork who created something called the Eliot Deviation Index and has 69 (nice) Twitter followers at the time of this blog post releasing, end up meeting both Stormy and Caleb on some random holiday Monday?

Our story starts on a Wednesday afternoon (well, it could start earlier but that’s before I entered the picture). The date is July 20, 2022, and I’m just leaving work when I saw that Caleb would be visiting Chicago over the Labor Day weekend. Caleb and Stormy had been wanting to collab for a while at that point, but this is when I expressed interest in meeting up. They had some ideas that they wanted to do (and ended up making videos on), and there I was, just joining in. Luckily, Caleb and Stormy were glad to have me (upon Caleb’s departure from Chicago towards the end of the scavenger hunt, he noted that I was wonderful to be around that day).

We actually started out with a different plan. (I won’t tell that plan here as I do plan to go there at some point in the future.) Looking back six weeks later, the scavenger hunt was really fun and we all had a blast running around the city. The scavenger hunt saw us visit thirteen historical sites around the city (and no, we did not see Cloud Gate). The following places were on the list - University of Chicago, Field Museum, Dearborn Station, Chicago Fire Academy, Hamburger University, Sears Tower, Home Insurance Building, corner of State and Madison, Thompson Center, Chicago Water Tower, Lincoln Park, Oz Park, Wrigley Field.

Fast forward a bit, we go to September 4, the day before the three of us met up. Caleb and Stormy are out filming the Venture Coaches video (I’m too lazy to link, but pretty much everyone here knows what I’m talking about, right?). At one point in the video, they are attempting to measure how fast the train is going, and Stormy gets a text, and just swipes it away. That was me, at 9:51 in the morning, probably just getting out of bed, saying that meeting at Union Station at 10 the following morning worked for me. I asked Stormy to tell Caleb I said hi, and according to Stormy, “Excellent.”

Monday, September 5, 8:45 am, Chicago Union Station. I show up. But wait, didn’t we agree at 10? Yes, I just showed up early. I get it from my mother. I grab some Dunkin before making my way to the Great Hall. I proceed to sit there for an hour, just vibing to whatever calm music they have playing in there. To be honest, I got up and did a walk around the block like four times because of someone continually asking for my phone or some money (this person asked the three of us after we met up, with Caleb’s wonderful response of “I have money, it’s just not from this country”).

10 comes and a moment later I see who I believed was Caleb walking across the length of the Great Hall. It was Caleb, he was just getting some carbs for the day. That’s all. A moment after that, Stormy texts me and tells me to look to my left. I look to the left. Stormy was there, we say hi, and Caleb comes a third moment later. They catch me up on what they’ve done all week - including the Chicago dog and ridiculous Greyhound. I was confused at first when I heard about that Greyhound, it took me a couple of moments to get that they did Chicago to Chicago. Not my greatest moments.

It was time for the scavenger hunt to begin! Well, we filmed an intro that was never used, and if you look at my main website, you’ll see that I reference “the fare reformer” being exclaimed. That was Caleb.


Caleb and Stormy filming the intro (I enter a few seconds later).

And just like that… we went to Starbucks. Sorry, Stormy just needed another paradise drink. Me (the Dunkin snob) had gotten Dunkin now two hours earlier. By 11:30, we headed over to the Red Line, and on the way me and Caleb were walking backwards explaining our route. Don’t try that at home. We’re trained professionals.


Stormy explaining the significance of the sculpture at the University of Chicago.

You’ve read the posts on Garfield, 55th-56th-57th, and Museum Campus-11th, hopefully. I’m skipping forward a bit.


Film-ception!

There were multiple different ways for us to get to Dearborn Station. We could’ve waited for the bus, we could’ve walked too. Stormy didn’t want to walk. So it was a race! Me and Caleb walked… until we ran… and then walked again at the very end. Stormy took the bus. Me and Caleb won.


"We're gonna win this."


What's hot yoga?


Me and Caleb while we were running.

When we were on the 8 that afternoon, we were discussing a meme that Stormy had shown us. It had to do with the CTA, and Harold Washington Library was brought up, mainly due to its long name. So of course, when our train to the Sears Tower passed by, we had to speak alongside Lee Crooks saying “This is Harold Washington Library, State and Van Buren…” and on. And yes, Harold Washington Library was the first teaser post for the series. The other was Diversey due to the hot dogs being made there. I knew a thing or two because I heard a thing or two.


"This is Harold Washington Library..."

Well, our scavenger hunt had quite a bit of stops downtown that we walked between. One of those stops - and the last before Caleb had to leave - was the Thompson Center. This pretty much all glass skyscraper used to hold Illinois state offices before being sold to Google, who plans to renovate it. I was able to get some cool photos looking through the glass here.


See, really cool photo.

For dinner, we got a well-known Chicago cuisine (and no, not a Chicago-style hot dog that Caleb and Stormy had the night before) - deep dish pizza. I was new to the city and Caleb was visiting from out of town, and it might become a Stormy tradition. After our 45 minute wait for the pizza, we ate the pizza… what else would we do? During the wait, we shared some stories and future plans (and trust me, stay tuned, it’ll be good). I got an early look at the Greyhound from Chicago to Chicago video as well.


I had asked for a group photo before Caleb left.


Our deep dish. That fed the three of us pretty well.

There we were, back at Union Station for Caleb’s train home. We said goodbye as he entered the Amtrak boarding area of the station. I gave him a hug and just like that, he was off.


Yep, somebody had to get the Capitol Limited.

Me and Stormy decided to finish off the scavenger hunt without Caleb, and we went to the 151... and if you’ve read that post, you know how that ends. The rest of our journey was on bus rides bringing us more and more north that night. Our final bus ride of the night was on the 22 up to Wrigley Field. We took the fun seats at the way back of the bendy bus (I prefer the bendy part of the bendy bus, but we got that on the second 151).


From the 22.

We got to Wrigley Field, and we finished. That was the last clue. Only took like… a number of hours. It was 8:30 at that point as well. Me and Stormy walked to the Red Line at Addison, for both of us to get home. As we sat down on the concrete platform, we just talked. I had only been in Chicago for a week at that point. There were many more adventures to be made - and as I write this, there are still many more. I looked down the tracks where I could see the flyover just north of Belmont as a Brown Line train passed over it. I had never ridden over it at that point. Stormy suggested that I should, and the very next afternoon, there I was on a Brown Line train riding over the flyover. Stormy’s suggestions gave this blog the Ravenswood and Dempster-Skokie posts as well.

Every year on my birthday, I ask myself one question. Where has the last year taken me? I asked myself that question today (hint - check the about page). Well, where has it taken me? I’ve written some of the best blog posts in the past year, reformed commuter rail fares, created the Eliot Deviation Index, and gave two talks to my high school about my work. Best of all, I’ve made some of the greatest friendships that I could have possibly made, and strengthened my connections with the others. Hell, I even moved a third of the way across the country! Happy 19th!

And to Caleb and Stormy, as many songs go, “we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when.” That was one hell of an adventure. (Me and Stormy have met a second time since the scavenger hunt.)

Posted: Oct 17, 2022 20:42

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