One Friday Morning at Chicago’s Nutella Cafe

Nutella waffle!

Nutella waffle with strawberries and fresh hazelnuts. Oh, yeah.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife Anne and I attended our second Chicago entertainment convention of 2019, a scant three weeks after the last one. Before and after each day’s festivities we found a few opportunities to see more of the Windy City that we hadn’t checked out on our last several trips. One restaurant in particular proved exactly the breakfast wonderland we needed.

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Another C2E2 Epilogue Starring Chicago

Do-Rite Donuts!

Sunday morning breakfast at Do-Rite Donuts and Chicken. Clockwise from top left: cream cheese Danish, blueberry, cinnamon crumble, red velvet coconut, old-fashioned chocolate, and maple bacon glaze.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: Anne and I attended the tenth annual C2E2 entertainment convention a few miles from downtown Chicago. When time permitted before and after the show, once again we wandered the Windy City and took photos, preferably of places and things we didn’t already see on our last several Chicago comic cons. Y’all know me — any excuse for a travel photo gallery.

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The Chicago 2018 Birthday Weekend, Part 4 of 4: Food!

Spumoni!

Spumoni! Best dessert of the trip. Chocolate, pistachio, and whatever the other one was.


Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For Anne’s birthday celebration this year, we headed up to Chicago for yet another weekend — this time mostly to attend the inaugural Ace Comic Con Midwest at Navy Pier, and partly to see if downtown Chicago contained any sights we hadn’t already seen and/or shared. In past years we’ve shared pics of the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Magnificent Mile, and scenic Navy Pier, among other locales you can find with MCC’s “Chicago” tag alternating in between their frequent conventions…

…some of which include Chicago food samples. Our luck with finding decent meals varied throughout the weekend. Thumbs-up restaurants thankfully outnumbered the more perfunctory stops.

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The Chicago 2018 Birthday Weekend, Part 2 of 4: Gray Friday, Windy City

Buckingham Fountain!

I’m told Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain is pretty when the waters are working and beautiful when lit up at night. We got neither.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: for Anne’s birthday celebration this year, we headed up to Chicago for yet another weekend — this time mostly to attend the inaugural Ace Comic Con Midwest at Navy Pier, and partly to see if downtown Chicago contained any sights we hadn’t already seen and/or shared. In past years we’ve shared pics of the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Magnificent Mile, and scenic Navy Pier, among other locales you can find with MCC’s “Chicago” tag alternating in between their frequent conventions.

Sooner or later we expect to run out of reasons to keep exploring the Mile and the Loop again and again, but we did what we could with the hours allotted and the ugly autumn weather against us. Temperatures were in the 40s all day Friday and light rain turned the early afternoon into a bit of a bummer. We walked around for a few miles anyway to spend time with each other and to kill time before the con began at 4 p.m.

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A Moment of Uncool Remote Post-Convention Decompression Quality Time

RosemontGreetings from busy, action-packed Illinois! After several hours spent at Day 1 of C2E2, my wife and I are glad to relax at last, off our feet and without our backpacks burdening us any longer. So far we’ve had a delightful experience, met several comics creators and a few Star Wars actors, acquired a few freebies and several quality items, and made plans for Day 2 on Saturday. Until then we’re enjoying the quiet ambiance of a particular hotel that’s treated us well before, up in the scenic village of Rosemont, down the street from the Donald E, Stephens Convention Center.

Careful readers, and anyone with a passing knowledge of the Chicago geek convention scene, may notice a discrepancy: C2E2 is being held at McCormick Place, a different convention center in a different Chicagoland section altogether, nearly twenty miles away. According to conventional convention wisdom, we’re doing it wrong.

We don’t mind. We have our reasons:

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Chicago Photo Tribute #4: a Few of Our Favorite Little Places

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

[This coming] weekend is the fourth annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (that “C2E2″ thing I won’t shut up about) at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, which my wife and I will be attending for our third time. As a tribute to this fascinating city, and an intro to C2E2 newcomers to provide ideas of what else Chicago has to offer while they’re in town, a few of this week’s posts will be dedicated to out experiences in the Windy City when we’re not gleefully clustered indoors with thousands of other comics and sci-fi fans.

Part One was worm’s-eye views of the skyscrapers and other upward fixtures about town. Part Two looked at Chicago from other angles. Part Three was our art appreciation festival. Today in Part Four: some of the local businesses that caught our attention and imaginations.

When you mention Chicago to anyone who’s ever been there, any restaurant discussion inevitably turns to deep-dish pizza. Chicago has no shortage of pizza places, and I’m sure everyone has their favorite. One of their largest, most well-known chains is Giordano’s. I’d trade half the nationwide pizza franchises in Indianapolis for a Giordano’s near us.

Pictured below: a pie of my own choosing, topped with sausage and anchovies. I’m the only person I know who stomachs anchovies, steeped as they are in salty richness.

Giordano's Pizza, anchovies, Chicago

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Chicago Photo Tribute #3: Art About Town, Present and Past

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

[This coming] weekend is the fourth annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (that “C2E2″ thing I won’t shut up about) at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, which my wife and I will be attending for our third time. As a tribute to this fascinating city, and an intro to C2E2 newcomers to provide ideas of what else Chicago has to offer while they’re in town, a few of this week’s posts will be dedicated to out experiences in the Windy City when we’re not gleefully clustered indoors with thousands of other comics and sci-fi fans.

Part One was worm’s-eye views of the skyscrapers and other upward fixtures about town. Part Two looked at Chicago from other angles. Today in Part Three: random acts of artists livening up the city over the past four years. Some of these streetside pieces remain in place today, waiting to greet you. Several moved on after we saw them, and you’ve missed your chance, unless you’re gung-ho enough to track them down to their current locations.

One of my favorite pieces hasn’t just been relocated; it’s been destroyed. This Shepard Fairey mural was created in 2011 as part of a Navy Pier art-walk exhibition. My wife and I saw it in April 2012 when we were in town for C2E2. In May 2012, the city decided its time was up and ordered painters to cover every last panel with artless white paint and restore this underpass to its natural state of ennui.

Shepard Fairey mural, Chicago

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Chicago Photo Tribute #2: the Views from Above and Around

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

[This coming] weekend is the fourth annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (that “C2E2″ thing I won’t shut up about) at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, which my wife and I will be attending for our third time. As a tribute to this fascinating city, and an intro to C2E2 newcomers to provide ideas of what else Chicago has to offer while they’re in town, a few of this week’s posts will be dedicated to out experiences in the Windy City when we’re not gleefully clustered indoors with thousands of other comics and sci-fi fans.

Part One was our collection of skyscrapers and upwardly neck-craning viewpoints. Today in Part Two: Chicago from other angles.

One of the most famous would be the view from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, the structure formerly known as the Sears Tower.

Willis Tower view, Chicago

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My 2012 in Pictures: a Montage of Montages Past and Future

From a purely photographic perspective, our family found 2012 far from boring, to say the least. It wasn’t without its share of trials, tears, and terrors, but it’s my fervent hope that the memories of those invigorating events caught on camera should outlast the emotional scars of the uglier incidents for years to come.

Some of the following subjects are from photo parades previously shared here on MCC. Some are from events that occurred prior to MCC’s inception on April 28, 2012. Some of these are sneak previews of photo parades that have been held in reserve until the conclusion of the 2012 Road Trip series, which is not represented in this gallery since it has its very own de facto home page.

That being said: the lighter side of 2012 from my limited vantage point appeared as follows. Continue reading

2012 Road Trip Photos #1: Vandalia the Ex-Capitol Presents Lincoln and Madonna

Each year our family takes a road trip to a different part of the United States, takes photos, and provides a travelogue for friends. In the past, my procedure has been to spend months assembling the stories in my head; actually write it once the right set of mental circumstances fall neatly into place (usually about the same time my wife starts asking me, “How much longer?” every other day); and refuse to share a single word of it with any other soul until the entire piece was a complete work from start to finish. The process was arduous and drawn out, but often fun and usually worth it.

Note how the careful use of adverbs in the previous sentence belies my reasons for trying a fresh approach this year. This year, with laptop in hand I wrote on the go, spending the last few hours of every evening capturing our day’s journey in print as thoroughly as I could, then posting them here on a nightly basis for nine consecutive entries. It meant sleeping a lot less than I normally do on vacation and temporarily relinquishing the entertainment/news aspect of my brain that sparks my writing impetus more often than not, but I enjoyed the immediacy of the experience and appreciated the support of those readers who graciously followed along.

In several non-consecutive entries, I’ll be sharing the photos of our experiences from our nine-day semi-adventure, which took us from Indiana, via Illinois and Missouri, to Kansas and our primary destination of Colorado. The trip had its ups and downs just as any road trip does. Even in the worst of times, we thought some of the pics were keen.

The photos will largely be presented in chronological order, but not slavishly so. Front-loading this with all the shots of breathtaking mountain scenery is tempting, to be sure. We’ll get there.

* * * * *

Day One was a nine-hour marathon from home to Topeka, with only one certified sightseeing stop in the small town of Vandalia, Illinois. My wife had one particular item on her agenda: their Madonna of the Trail statue.

A Madonna of the Trail

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