Monday, May 4, 2009

Sniffy in Chicago

I have my second cold of the trip, but luckily it came on a day when I don't have too much scheduled. So I'm laying low, writing emails, and hopefully I'll get to some editing too.

I spent the weekend with the Cohens, long-time family friends in Skokie, who welcomed me with this awesome sign!


Sunday morning I borrowed their scooter and kicked my way to the nearby Metra station where I took train into Chicago, (and coincidentally ran into Emily, an old high school friend). I checked into Hotel Felix, Chicago's only LEED silver-certified hotel, who invited me to stay for two days.

Then I was off, walking about four miles to meet up with Christopher Furman, a Chicago artist, inventor, and special effects expert. He's got an awesome studio filled with tons of half-completed sculptures and various mechanical odds and ends. One of his latest creations is a "walking rickshaw," (or at least that's the working title). It's pretty hard to describe. It almost looks like a backwards tricycle, with a seat placed on top of two big bike wheels. Instead of a third wheel in the back though, there's a set of mechanical legs, powered by a go-kart motor, that walk to propel the whole device forward.


Christopher's still tinkering with it, though it seems pretty road-ready to me. I was the third person to ride it, after Christopher and his wife. You can't help but smile when you're on this thing. There's a foot pedal to engage the motor, and it moves surprisingly quickly. He hopes to have it ready to ride in a 4th of July parade this year, though he not-so-secretly dreams of taking it down a highway one day.


I'll probably see a few more of Christopher's creations on Tuesday when I meet up with Redmoon Theater, who he's built a few contraptions for. Now I'm off to blow my nose some more and find some tea.

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