#783: The Five-Year Plan (or I Hate You So Much Right Now, Google Maps)

April 28th, 2017

I would like to dedicate today’s story to Google Maps, which about 20 minutes ago decided it didn’t like the interactive display I had spent hours designing and reverted to an incomplete version from three days ago, apparently deleting every change I had made since. Thanks, Google Maps. You’re a rock star.

This site could go to kindergarten.

A photon shot from the sun the moment this launched passed Alpha Centauri in September.

I’ve spent as much time working on this as I spent in undergrad.

If you’ve done the math on these pages, you’ll realize 1,001 Chicago Afternoons is turning five on Sunday. And if you do the math on my claims above, yes I spent five years in undergrad (there were some problems with credits transferring and, frankly, sometimes classes are hard!)

It has been a long, weird time with a lot of personal life changes, a lot of growth and a lot of bile for stupid dumbface Google Maps, which just plain deleted the big fancy interactive display I’ve been planning for a week to celebrate this milestone.

So in lieu of that, and noting that I’ll run the interactive element later in the spring once I learn to avoid whatever it was I did, here is a brief sampling of a few of my favorite stories from over the years. It’s not how I hoped to celebrate this anniversary, but considering it was sudden, surprising, ruined my previous plans and got my pulse pounding and the creative juices last-minute flowing, I think it might be an appropriate honor for what this site has meant for me and for my life over the last half-decade.

Year One

#2: The Rabbi’s Machine is Missing — Still one of my favorites. Chicago’s last typewriter repairman.

#18: The Human Addict – He’s what I think of when I get too clinical with interviews. These are people’s stories, not fodder for my stray thoughts.

#50: Old Joe of Canaryville — A great haircut.

Year Two

#193, #196, #199: The Nut Hut series — A crazy tale told over soup. You should be able to click through all three parts at the bottom of the story.

#220: The Ghost of Herbert Hinchliffe — An OK story, but a great memory. This man’s great-nephew’s wife reached out to me via Facebook to thank me for writing it a few years after it came out. She found it through an idle Google search while doing family history.

#225: “Where Do You Go When it Rains?” — I’ve always wanted to know.

Year Three

#340: Cockroach on the Factory Floor — A look at justice inside 26th and Cal.

#397: The Steelworker’s Art and #398: The Steelworker’s Mermaid — Roman Villareal is an amazing man.

#436: The Mayoral Candidates’ Campaign Finance Paperwork in the Style of Great Poets of History — It’s so dumb, but I still laugh.

Year Four

#495: Mama Olaf  — Soup and love.

#507: The Foreknowledge of U.S. Steel — This was from when I was working on a project on the South Side steelmills. It’s shelved, temporarily.

#541: Carroll Street — Oh look, an interactive display that didn’t get eaten. It is possible, Google Maps!

Year Five

#644: Can You Master the Chicago L? A Text-Based Role-Playing Game — So dumb. So funny. Also try the previous year’s #556: The Professional Writer Simulator.

#718: Barbara’s Bike Ride and #721: The Guide — Barbara Morris runs a black history tour company from her home in Auburn Gresham. Sitting in her kitchen drinking tea and listening to her stories is one of my favorite memories. Not just memories of the site, but memories period.

#727: The Heart of the Book — He likes books. So do I.

And that’s it. That’s my last five years in a nutshell.

As for what year six will bring, come back Monday to find out.

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