Views of Chicago

Here is a short selection of the numerous pictures I shot whilst being stranded in Chicago, Illinois. Enjoy the slideshow, and feel free to comment:

More of my pictures can be seen on Flickr.

To read further (or in that instance, view further):

  • Japanese pictures: a bunch of pictures from my 3-week trip across the Japanese archipelago
  • Still moving, an article on photographies that can move you by being innovative (including some of my panographies)
  • Found it, a note on street art including my own personal collection of street art pictures.


Faith for sale

The United States of America: home of liberalism, shopping channels, advertorials... Here everything is for sale. I was warned. And yet it struck me to see this "for sale" sign posted by this Chicago church.
In my eyes, churches are a symbol of faith, a cultural patrimony, and certainly not an asset to market. But I tried to picture the associated advert, and came up with something that could read like:

For Sale because of worshiper defection. The property offers a large cross-shape floor plan with spacious, though gregarious living accommodations. Great opportunity to elevate. Small interior swimming pool and wine cellar. Ideal for social gathering. Comes fully furnished for large receptions, though guests would need to accommodate with wooden benches. Former landLord could offer repayment through Devil Soul Bank. Visits on Sundays.

Tough to say if I would manage to sell this property... But if I were not, I could always try my luck on eBaysilica!

To read further:


A mountain dweller in the Great Lake valley

Rounds and grids
After Seattle earlier this year, I have had the opportunity to discover another iconic American city, Chicago Illinois. This town has accompanied my childhood through my television set. Michael Jordan or Al Bundy have introduced me to the Windy City, but through their own peculiar angles. A few years later, it was my turn to walk the banks of the Lake Michigan and to discover a few more differences to share in this blog.
  1. It's all about food. As you will read below Chicago boasts some iconic dishes such as deep pan pizza or hot dogs. And yet the city most interesting sandwich is not available to eat. Walking down the streets you could be amazed by the little amount of traffic for such a big conurbation. Avenues should be packed with cars and cabs, and yet I found the streets almost peaceful... Until I realised that the traffic that was not visible on the surface was happening under the upper crust of the city. In some places, you can encounter up to three levels of traffic, two of which are semi-underground. What is even more amazing is that these underground streets happen to go under the skyscrapers or even through buildings like this four-lane highway that literally goes through the former central post-office. I am calling that the urban sandwich.
  2. Emasculating pizzas. Whilst writing about food, let me close the topic by sharing a painful experience... One of these nights I went out with a couple female colleagues and we landed in one of the local culinary landmarks: Giordano's. When my friends suggested to share a deep pan pizza, I hesitated but behaved... and in the end agreed (you certainly don't want to be seen as an ogre by your colleagues). We opted for what sounded at that time a very reasonable, medium-sized pizza that the three of us would share. "Easy job" my gut said, already thinking about a complementary dessert... until the bespoke pizza landed on our table. In spite of my legendary Italian cravings and the precious help of my two sidekicks, we never saw the end of the cheesy dish that was taunting us. I felt I failed my peers. This was an indent into my manhood! In my defense, who else than Chicago-based Italians call a pizza a 5cm-thick quiche comprising of 0.5cm of crust, 4cm of melted mozzarella cheese and 0.5cm of tomato sauce and other toppings? Seriously! I must confess that a few days later, I had another go at it... On my own this time. I conquered the small-sized pizza all by myself, and regained some self-esteem.
  3. The magic box. In the US, everything is big. I am always amazed by the skyscrapers. After my first flight was canceled I went to our local office to work. It is located in the Aon Center, a 346m high building in the financial district (the third highest building in Chicago). One evening, as I was leaving the office I headed towards the elevators to see a guy stepping in. I rushed, but the doors closed right in front of me. I pushed frantically the button and the same lift opened... Empty. The guy before me had vanished. I suddenly remembered two things: first some elevators are super fast and second Houdini was half American. It was impossible for the lift to have gone down, unloaded its passenger, and returned to the 31st floor in a couple seconds. That left us with the second option: the lift was magic. I felt like a kid... I knew there was a trick, a hidden panel, a sliding door, something. But I could not find it. And trust me I could not refrain from knocking at the walls to see if I could crack it. The solution was revealed to me when we stopped at ground level and whilst the doors remained closed the robotic voice announced "Unloading lower deck". In this massive building, not only do you have a myriad of lifts to cater for the 83 floors, but they are also double-decked to load twice more people each time! The mystery of the magic lift was solved.
  4. Bears or bulls. I am a sports-fan, but I also appreciate symbols and economics... A weird mix I would say, but which proved handy in Chicago. When looking for some entertainment I was struck by the fact that the city was home of two major franchises, the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Bears. These two animals are also the symbols of the stock markets: the bear represents a conservative, wait-and-see trend, whilst the Bull refers to a buoyant stock frenzy. Chicago being also a reputable finance markets with its stock exchange, its mercantile exchange... I could not really fathom if the two were connected in a subtle in-joke at the sport business and the millions of dollars transacted every season. And what to think about the White Sox... Is this hope that a bright colour will encourage Santa Claus to finally drop some good players in the local baseball team stockings?
That's it for now, but there will be probably more since my flights get canceled one after the other. That will leave me a bit more time to explore in greater depth this city and its local oddities.

To Read further:


Pixelised your world - a great video

I like video, I like games, I like creativity...

Well, this short movie by Patrick Jean from
One More Production got it all, so no wonder I loved it. Enjoy this visual treat, and remember the good old days you spent playing Arkanoid, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders on various consoles.

To read further:

  • Life is a game, an article on how video games handle political correctness nowadays
  • Bunn-Invasion, or how play-doh and space invaders are taking over cities
  • Found it, a note on my passion for the hidden art in our streets


A classic... And I don't mean the burger.

A little extract from my best film ever... Pulp Fiction.

I have just rediscovered its brilliant soundtrack tonight after years gathering dust on my CD rack. And I could not avoid sharing the following cult quote from Vincent (aka John Travolta) and Jules (aka Samuel L. Jackson) on cultural differences:
Vincent Vega: You know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
Jules Winnfield: What?
Vincent Vega: It's the little differences. I mean they got the same shit over there that they got here, but it's just, just there it's a little different.
Jules Winnfield: Example.
Vincent Vega: Alright, well you can walk into a movie theater in Amsterdam and buy a beer. And, I don't mean just like a paper cup, I'm talking about a glass of beer. And, in Paris, you can buy a beer in McDonald's. You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
Jules Winnfield: They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
Vincent Vega: No, man, they got the metric system, they don't know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.
Jules Winnfield: What do they call it?
Vincent Vega: They call it a Royal with Cheese.
Jules Winnfield: Royal with Cheese.
Vincent Vega: That's right.
Jules Winnfield: What do they call a Big Mac?
Vincent Vega: Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.
Jules Winnfield: Le Big Mac. What do they call a Whopper?
Vincent Vega: I don't know. I didn't go into Burger King. But you know what they put on french fries in Holland instead of ketchup?
Jules Winnfield: What?
Vincent Vega: Mayonnaise.
Jules Winnfield: Goddamn!
Vincent Vega: I seen 'em do it. And I don't mean a little bit on the side of the plate, they fuckin' drown 'em under that shit.

For more of these brilliant dialogue and a great non-linear story telling, simply put your hands on the DVD...

To read more:


Around the world in 80 seconds

Those who read regularly this blog know that I am a keen traveler, a photo-enthusiast, and a bit of a geek. So whenI stumbled upon this stop-motion film, I got my passions reunited at once. Enjoy this quick Around the World tour in 80 seconds and you will probably recognize places you have been. I did.

To read more:

  • Still moving! an article on how still images can be touching, moving with a twist of creativity