It is important for me to see the city. Last I was here things were quite grim. That paranoid, phantom city haunted me.
But Chicago has healed, adapted, moved on. I’m ashamed I ever doubted it.
I’m here in the magical two week window between summer and fall. Everything is beautiful and alive. The weather is perfect.
Day 9: Lords of the Pit
A dozen of my closest friends gather to play Magic at The Boiler Room. I intentionally build a “Tier 2.5 Deck” (translation: bad) with Greg’s substantial collection. We eat pizza and drink PBR and get into all sorts of trouble.
Day 10: Arcane Framework
Katy and I played metal in different bands back in the day. She was a regular at Inocula practice. We share a birthday (same year too!) so we lovingly refer to ourselves as twins.
We spend the afternoon hanging out in Grant Park sharing refracted tales of our storied history.
Day 11: Highland
Today I meet most of my team in real life for the first time. Highland’s been around over two decades, but we’re intentionally small and there have been many comings and goings lately. I haven’t seen any of my co-workers IRL since last March. It is beautiful and intense, and joyful. Amrita gives many of us henna tattoos.
Day 12: History Factory
I wake up early and head to O’hare. I’m visiting one of my clients, History Factory, in Virginia. One of their clients is Brooks Brothers. I’m shown a perfect replica of Abraham Lincoln’s jacket - the one he was wearing when assassinated. Lincoln had custom embroidery work on the inside. A type of personal “geometrie” armor to see him through some of the darkest nights of American history.
Day 13: Two of Swords, Judgement, Seven of Cups
I meet up with Mel for the first time in real life. Mel is one of my dearest friends. One of the points of my asterism tattoo represents her. We enjoy bibimbap, curio shopping, and a hookah. She gives me a particularly intense tarot reading.
I cry often. I cannot believe all the love in the world, all these people that care for me, who graciously make time to be with me.
Day 14: Spies in the Capital
Fred and I visit the International Spy Museum. It is an absolute blast. We geek out about our love for Metal Gear Solid, Mr. Robot, and infosec. I share stories of Stuxnet the worm and how that inspired my Stuxnet project. We turn the corner and there is an exhibit on Stuxnet.
Day 15: To Delhi
For the second time, I find myself on a commuter train on a Friday. I meet with Trent for coffee and lox during my brief layover in NYC. He hand delivers me to the Port Authority. I get on bus and begin the four hour journey into the Catskills…