(the second of three travel blogs)

I visited Jord in Chicago.

He was in absentia from Michigan, spending the summer in Chicago as a member of the Chicago Nintendo Street Team. For those of you who don't know, the Nintendo Street Team is a group of grown men who let children play with Game Boys attached to belts around their waists at fairs and participate in challenges like re-writing the lyrics to "Jenny from the Block."

Jord greeted me outside his apartment and radiated the smell of laundry detergent. How much fuckin' Tide did he use for this past load? I wondered.

Together, we visited Bruno (another Michigan transplant) at his apartment. Bruno's quite a character. He reminds me of Cabbie from The Howard Stern Show. As I entered Bruno's apartment, to my left was a wall covered with Sharpie graffiti and to my right, a door with a strip of paper that read "Ronald W. Reagan" taped on it. I soon met Bruno's roommates. One is a slob wigger and the other is a straight-edge conservative with the neatest room I've ever seen for a male. This apartment and its tenants would be a surefire television hit: The Wigger, The Neocon and…Bruno.

Bruno and Jord decided that we should eat dinner in Chinatown.

[tires screeching]

Jon's rule of travel #38: Let's not go to Chinatown.

Apparently, Jord craved a bubble tea (or "pearl tea" or "boba," depending on where you live) drink from this one particular restaurant in Chinatown. When I returned to Michigan from Chicago, Jord's ex-girlfriend told me that one time she wanted to patronize a bubble tea shop in Ann Arbor but Jord thought bubble tea was lame. Someone's a closet bubble tea lover…

At dinner, our conversation somehow led to Bruno talking about how men recognize the smell of semen because they're around it so often.

A few minutes later, Bruno mentioned something about how he and Jord got drunk one night and while watching The Dreamers, he asked Jord a movie trivia question and Jord answered incorrectly, so he made Jord masturbate in front of him and jizz on a poster of himself (Bruno). I wasn't sure if Bruno was serious or not.

Back at Jord's apartment, I was lying around on the ground next to the television and noticed a dark brown pubic hair on the carpet next to my head.

On the second day, Jord had some Nintendo Street Team business to attend to (shilling Nintendo on the local news during an interview about Barack Obama), so I jaunted about the city by myself.

I like the El train system. I never had to wait very long for a train to arrive and the routes were moderately scenic. Among the metropolitan train systems I've used, I'd rank it behind the Metro in Washington D.C. (simple route map, clean cars, stations reminiscent of Gattaca) and the train system in Tokyo (convenient, always on time).

First stop: grad school contender Northwestern University in Evanston. I noticed a lot of painting of rocks. The campus is architecturally bland and frustrating to navigate, but its shoreline is nice. I'd never seen black waves in pastel green water before.

Walking down Howard Street on my way to The Fish Keg, I saw a store called The Sweet Shop with the tagline: "home of the old school and new school candy." I went in to see if the store had any old school Bar None candy bars (the best candy bar ever…bar none…before Hershey added caramel to it). No Bar Nones, old school or new school.

The Chicago Tribune needs to hire better layout designers. The blue masthead is hideous and the headline font screams typographic antiquity.

Adrian Tomine owns. Optic Nerve should be required reading.

Millennium Park pulled me in, but the Pritzker Pavilion bandshell turned me off. In the middle of downtown, amidst beautiful old architecture, stands this aesthetic atrocity. Frank Lloyd Wright is probably rolling in his grave. I hate Frank Gehry's wavy tinfoil constructions. Please stop.