Day 4: Still Stuck in Chicagoland

There are worse places to be stuck.  Far worse weather to be stuck in.  I’m sure you all have your own horror stories.  And I don’t really want to rant every day here at this blog.  Not really what you came here for.  But it’s the dark side of being out here on the road.  So, let’s get this tale out of the way.  (Rant ahead — extra photos for compensation)

The day started dark & dismal — after enough storms for power outages and downed trees last night.  Fine with me to have crappy weather since I was foolishly thinking I was going get the A/C fixed up and be on my way.  I showed up at the Firestone at 10:30 so they could start disassembling Sparkle for the AC hose.  They called at 11 when the part didn’t arrive.  It would be there at 3pm, they promised.  So I not so happily went on my way.  Got some shooting done, thank god, and back to my new home base at 3.  Finally, around 6, they said it was done.  I went to drive off, didn’t even get to test the A/C because by the time I got a block down the road, it sounded like a jet engine in the passenger seat.  Jesus.

Turned around immediately and back to the shop — “oh, the mechanic just left”.  Does anyone roadtest their work before they give it to the customer anymore?  This happens to me at home as well with my own mechanic — makes me NUTS!!  So the only mechanic left was some young guy I guess that specializes in oil changes or maybe tire rotation.  And the guy at the counter who’d been dealing with me all day was not apologetic in the least.  Saying stuff like “it happens”.  Firestone headquarters will be getting a call from me tomorrow for what it’s worth.  Maybe they’ll give me a coupon of some sort for 5% off my next $1000 purchase?

So — not only do I have this LOUD sound blasting at me — but without the AC on, the fans (which are not turned on) are blowing HOT air at me.  Making the 95 temps inside Sparkle more like 120.  Nice.  So, back to the shop tomorrow at 7am when there will supposedly be two, count ’em two, real mechanics on-hand.  Please, say a prayer that I can get out of that godforsaken place by noon.  These half days and quarter days of shooting are killing me.  I ought to mention that while the dogs and I tried to cope in the waiting area all. freaking. day — it was sunny out.

Thanks for listening.  On with the show.

Some of you may remember hearing about this Tin Man being taken down after a whole bunch of flak from the City (Oak Forest).  I’ve got a photo of him in storage here:

Well — last year, King Plumbing won the battle & got him put back up.  He looks happier than ever, doesn’t he?  Master of his domain!  It’s so nice to be KING!


This sign from Oak Forest.  So grey out it was almost like night:


Some of you may be familiar with “The Spindle” sculpture that was at Cermak Plaza in Berwyn, IL.  It was a local fixture and tourist attraction from 1989-2008.

When it was dismantled, the three top cars & the spindle itself were saved.  However, I doubt we’ll ever seen them again.  BUT — it looks like LKQ A-Reliable Auto Parts in Blue Island has provided us with a mini tribute anyway:


Also in Blue Island — sun would really have been nice…


This giant of a sign in Crestwood.  The place has been around since 1975.  I’m glad those rocks are there to protect this thing.


From Bridgeview.  I’d love to know what this sign originally promoted with those polka dots & all that.  The used car lot is empty.  Looks long empty.


From Chicago, officially.  Another huge one.  The width of just the “MOTEL” panel must be twenty feet wide:


More Chicago.  This one’s a stunner:


Chicago rocks in so many ways.  Maybe my favorite city.  But I could never live here because of those winters.  And I don’t really have favorite cities or states.  I like tiny towns just as much.  But anyway — back to rocks.  And something that seems unique to Chicago:


And also seems unique to Chicago — or at least far more abundant than any other place — those decorative glass blocks.  I’ve never seen some of these shapes before:


Time to add a little Art Deco to the mix.  Sad to see what’s become of these beauties.

Detail shot:


An odd mix of Deco & hand-painted sign-ery.  I love heroic depictions of labor — are they making a pipe for plumbing or what?


A sequin sign!  Or that’s what I call them anyway.  They have gotten so rare.  Used to be one in Brooklyn near me — all silver spangles that blew in the wind and nearly caused me to crash a few times while admiring.  Safely, gone now.



A detail of the “sequins” — more like dog tags I guess:


And a terrazzo detail from the Sequin Building (my preferred name over the Western Building):


And one more for the night — from Berwyn.  I love this guy’s expression.  Especially with that sunny side up yellow behind him.  It makes me think cake can fix anything.  Or at least any funky mood — like the one I had most of the day today.


Wish me luck tomorrow morning!  I’m fantasizing that they can fix my Turbo Jet within a couple hours and I can wrap up this Illinois chunk tomorrow and get going with Iowa.

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