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Feb. 21st, 2005 @ 02:30 pm (no subject)
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Finally turned in my car in for repairs. The insurance company has decided that it's the other guy's insurance's fault, so I'm stuck waiting till all the dust settles before getting reimbursed regardless. My car is in for servicing now. Luckily being a uncommon car, the insurance had no option to replace the parts with cheap aftermarket knockoffs, so I got straight OEM parts. Though I must be the only person out there with a rental car that's bigger than the one that I put in for repairs.

Chicagoland was awesome as expected. Got to spend some time hanging out with the fabuluous Megin(who doesn't appear to be on LJ though) as well as Adam(who also isn't on LJ). I wonder if the entire city is dead to LJ. The Dear Friends concert was fabulous. Hearing the orchastrated renditions of the Final Fantasy music that I had grown up with throughout the years was a very surreal experience that I'm sure that tblack, fizzbang, and Kenn who had joined me in attending this event. The concert managed to get an interesting mix of people, from those dressed metro, to the ones in full tuxes, and the stereotypical gamer geek with the ratty t-shirt plus everything in between. Despite me not being at Katsucon this weekend, I was still managed to see cosplayers over the weekend, as there were a couple of those cheering Uematsu on. During the concert, amist the the hordes of fans clapping, Uematsu suggested that there were plans for him to bring the Black Mages(his rock group) over to the US for a performance. I'm certainly looking forward to that if it happens.

Before the concert, I wandered around the town of Chicago for a bit, as I hadn't been there in years. It's still as grungy as I remember, but the Millenium Park(4 years late for finishing) was still really cool. I particularily liked being able to see the Frank Gehry designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge, though the non-Gehry items were also very cool. Plus I didn't get a chance to see the Bean, as it was closed for "laser polishing". I wouldn't be supprised if these lasers were being pointed at the evil robot spawn as they were escaping from this bean.

Chicago is definately a good city for tasty eats however. Lou Malnati's had some well done Chicago style pizza(though I'm sure dwchang would disagree, as well as a tasty loaf of bread stuffed with spinnach and parmesean, baked to perfection. Irazu was a very tasty Costa Rican place with very good burritos, as well as an Oatmeal shake(which was supprisingly good). Megin told us a tale of someone who she managed to convince to go to school there soley on having been brought to Irazu. Just before leaving on Sunday, Megin suggested Lula as quite possibly "the best restaurant in Chicago", and I'd have to say it certainly didn't disappoint. I had a moroccan omelet(which was a savory egg omelet with lentils, spinach, feta, and harissa) served atop a side of home fries and a fruit cup. Not only was the food good, but the key for me that set the place over the top was its presentation and price. They brought out the food in such an arrangement of a fancy $100 a person DC restaurant, while costing a tenth as much. I'll definately have to head back there at some point.

Overall a very nice trip. Good sights, fun company, amazing music, and plenty of tasty eats to round it all out.
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South Park Style
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From:dwchang
Date:February 22nd, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
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Whoa I didn't know you were at the "Dear Friends" concert. I really wanted to go, but A) didn't know anyone gonig and B) well $$$ and time. I guess it was worth it though since it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

By chance do you remember what songs they played? If you say the Final Fantasy VI theme (Tera) or the Final Fantasy V Opening I'll cry ;_;.

"Lou Malnati's had some well done Chicago style pizza(though I'm sure [info]dwchang would disagree)"

Not really. Mlanati's is good, as are nearly all the chicago pizza places, but not the best imo. Pizzeria Uno's, THE ORIGINAL, is probably the best. Thing is, it only has like 20 seats in the entire restaurant and it's very difficult to get in without waiting for like 2 hours. Again, don't mistake it as the chain since it's a lot different from the pizza, the atmosphere, restaurant itself, etc.

For ACen, there is Gino's East really close and I think a Giordano's and we usually try and go there at least once (generally Thursday night?). I'd say that's a distant 2nd.

I do agree on the food though. I haven't been to Irazu, but well Chicago is known for it's pizza, hotdogs and beef sandwiches. Like Gino's East, I imagine we'll hit a Beef Sandwich/Hot Dog place (Portillo's).

Funny how half of ACen is the food >_>.
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From:bogosort
Date:February 22nd, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC)
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Song list:
1. Liberi Fatali (FF8)
2. Zanarkand (FFX)
3. Terra's Theme (FF6)
4. Theme of Love (FF4)
5. Dear Friends (FF5)
6. Vamo' alla Flamenco (FF9)
7. Love Grows (FF8)
- intermission -
8. Aeris' Theme (FF7)
9. Not Alone (FF9)
10. Ronfaure (FF11)
11. FF1-3 medley (Prelude; FF1 Theme; Matoya's Cave (FF1); Elia, the Maiden of Water (FF3); Chocobo; The Rebel Army(FF2))
12. Something from Advent Children
13. Final Fantasy
14. One Winged Angel (FF7) (encore)

So yeah, cry if you must.

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From:dwchang
Date:February 22nd, 2005 10:30 pm (UTC)

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Wow quite a diverse arrangement from the Final Fantasies. I personally would've skipped 9 since it has pretty weak music imo. Replace it with the entire 15 minute FFVI ending :). Oh wait...

;_;
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From:bogosort
Date:February 23rd, 2005 03:16 am (UTC)
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It was a tribute concert. They tried to have at least one song from each. And I think that was one of the best tracks from 9 in my opinion anyways.
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From:bogosort
Date:February 22nd, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC)
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I've still yet to goto the original Pizzeria Unos, though I've hit all of the rest of the ones that you've mentioned. Real Chicago pizza and what's available in the chains is just plain different, though they might have similar looks. One thing that I will have to say about Chicago food is that it manages to be its own distinctive style, while not being overly pretentious about it.
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From:dwchang
Date:February 22nd, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)
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To be honest, it will probably be pretty difficult to plan a trip to the original Unos since most of us will be flying in and I gurantee we will be delayed b/c of O'hare. We could try Thursday Night since we *try* to have dinner together (well I try to do it since a lot of my college friends and AMV friends don't know each other...break the ice), but who knows. Usually Gino's East is the easiest since it's close to the con.

So when did you try so much unique Chicago-pizza and food? I'm a bit surprised since I thought this was your first visit.
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From:bogosort
Date:February 23rd, 2005 03:18 am (UTC)
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I had been to Chicago once before with family, and my dad's a big fan of trying out local favorites(and I seem to have inherited that from him). Last time we were there, I have a fond memory of racing to the airport, almost missing our flight because we had spent so long because my dad refused to leave without hitting Gino's East.
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From:johnmeier1
Date:February 22nd, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
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Is it bad that your South Park lj icon scares the bejesus out of me?

where can i get me one of those?
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From:alazrael
Date:February 23rd, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
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Does it make you feel funny things?
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From:bogosort
Date:February 23rd, 2005 03:24 am (UTC)
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Hrm, I'll have to dig up that link. Quick search reveals a broken link on the South Park web site. So what is your problem with my perfectaly harmless South Park icon anyways?
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From:mkincaid
Date:February 23rd, 2005 02:41 am (UTC)
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"I got straight OEM parts"

Lucky you. A few weeks ago, I had to take a door apart in my car to fix the lock mechanism and discovered that my body shop in Pittsburgh opted to duct tape things back together instead of fixing/replacing them.
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From:bogosort
Date:February 23rd, 2005 03:26 am (UTC)
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Not quite out of the woods yet unfortunately. They just informed me today that there was more damage than they thought, and that some parts would have to be repaired rather than replaced. I'm going to have to have a nice talk with them tomorrow.