Week 1, Day 4

It’s officially laundry day. For those of you who counted my underwear before I left and are thinking laundry day should’ve been a while ago, you need to know that I also brought some pairs of sports boxers which technically are underwear.

I just love the L. For a kid who spent an inordinate amount of time building model railroads, the L is an absolute treat. In the morning, on my way into the Loop, I love to stand near the front of the train and watch the tracks, the other trains, figure out the signals, and little signs along the tracks. There are so many switches and crossovers between the parallel sets of tracks on the way downtown. In the Loop is even cooler, since there is a T junction at the start of the Loop, at least where I first encounter it, and then a full double-wide crossing on the opposite corner of the Loop, diagonally. That is super cool, because it is like a giant tic-tac-toe board made out of train tracks, and it is very busy.

I took these last Saturday, the day I went to the Harold Washington Library. I take pictures of train tracks. That is how much of a geek I am. I guess I’ve outed myself. I’d take more if I wasn’t afraid of being mistaken for a terrorist. I think tracks are beautiful.

L1This one of those great sets of crossovers. The Red Line runs on the center pair of tracks. The Orange Line, which is the one I usually take downtown, runs on the outer two tracks. Just looking at all those switches makes me a bit giddy. OK, a pause while I take a few yoga breaths.

This next one is a bit further down the line, and shows that the tracks are not always flat; sometimes they lean way in toward the center of a curve.

L2Finally the T junction near the Library stop. The train takes a sharp left just past the second double red signal in the center, past that neat double crossover.  My next job is to figure out what the signals mean. I cropped this picture so you can’t clearly see the logo of a rich man running for president.

I couldn’t get a shot of the double crossing because part of the Loop was under construction, and the train didn’t pass there that day. I’d love to catch it near sunset, with the sun glinting off the rails. I’ve seen that once. So stunning.

Actually, there are just a ton of train lines all over the city, especially here in the southern part. A few of you might have heard of the Back of the Yards – rode through it this morning on my bike. It’s largely an outsized industrial park now, but it still has plenty of track laid down, in many very interesting configurations. I have to wonder what they are all for.

OK, enough geekery, it’s time for MORE GEEKERY! This last picture is the school across the street from where I am living, Philip D Armour school. It is a K-8 school founded in 1901. P.D. Armour made his fortune in the meatpacking industry, and is the subject of some scandal. There is a nice playground over one the far side. That’s where kids were hanging out last night.


One more day of classes. We had two new students today, Mia and Kiara, to replace the two who couldn’t stay. We had a busy day programming Jukeboxes and getting the new students caught up. Tomorrow, we go back through some of the stuff students aren’t quite clear on (there are quizzes at the end of everyday), then move on to the Python (named after Monty Python) programming language for the next two weeks.



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