This trip to Chicago has been so crazy! I knew very little about what we were actually going to be doing here, so every day was literally a surprise.
So I flew here on Tuesday, then took a cab to the hotel and met up with Luke. We hung out in our hotel for a little while, but eventually we had to get out of the room so we tracked down a Supercuts and got Luke a haircut. By that time it was getting pretty late and neither of us had really eaten much that day, so on the recommendation of a guy in the lobby of our hotel, we went to this little Italian pizzeria a few blocks away. Of course we had to order one of Chicago's famous deep dish pizzas, which was delicious.
That night we turned in early, knowing only that we had a shoot the next day for some karaoke video game that had hired us to help them promote their release. And that we'd be hanging out with Wheezy Waiter, Meghan and Liz, and Alex Goot, who were also in Chicago for the same thing.
The next day was nothing like we expected. We headed over to this studio that was in the adjoining building and were met by a handful of really friendly, excited people. Peering through the window of the closed door to the studio we could see Craig rocking out on this super intense stage to "Umbrella", and Luke and I were handed the lyrics to "Feels Like Tonight" by Chris Daughtry. I had literally heard this song maybe twice in my life, so Luke and I spent the next fifteen minutes in panic memorize mode. As soon as Craig finished, we were ushered into the studio and sent to the sound guy where they had two mics set up ready for us to record our one vocal track to the song.
Luckily, Luke and I are both fast learners and pretty good at winging it, so I think after about 20 minutes or so we were able to cut a decent track. Then we had another five minutes or so until we were up onstage, rocking out and pretending we were performing this song to thousands of adoring fans while the camera crew filmed us.
Oh, I forgot to mention, Luke and I both showed up in pretty good performing outfits, but since we had no idea we would be singing Daughtry, we were missing that extra something. Two of the guys we were working for, Soung and Ed, decided it would be worth it to run down to the second floor where there was a clothing store that sold leather jackets to ask if we could borrow them for an hour or so. Like, borrow clothes from a store. We were skeptical, but the guy running the store was so awesome about it, he said it was totally fine. So Luke and I got to essentially play dress up in a leather store and we both picked out the most basses looking jacket we could find. It was hilariously fun. All we had to do was keep the tags on, which was easy because we just shoved them up the sleeves.
Then we performed our song a few times through, took a bunch of pictures with the other YouTubers and with the crew and everything, and we were done for the day! The whole process took not much more than 2-3 hours, and everything about it was fun. I love that this is my job.
We had a few hours to kill before the group dinner reservation so we hit up the skyline bar (or something like that, I could never remember the name) back at our hotel with Craig, Soung (who works with us on YouTube promotional stuff) and Christina (our contact at Crave Games. Craig gave us a comprehensive history of all the places we could see from our sky view that he applied to in the past that didn't hire him, we talked YouTube, and had a really nice time just hanging out.
Then we met up with everyone else and headed over to the Purple Pig, a restaurant that actually belongs to a family member of George Strompolos, who used to work for YouTube but now does things like getting Luke and I this opportunity in Chicago. The restaurant was a ton of fun; it was the type of place where everyone orders 2-3 dishes and then everyone just shares with each other. We all tried so many new things, including such frightening options as Pork Rear and Bone Marrow. Okay, I didn't try the Bone Marrow. Luke freaking loved it though. So did Alex Goot's camera guy and friend David (who was also a super cool guy, despite the loving Bone Marrow thing). Alex hated the Marrow, so I felt better about not trying it. Totally fine with being a wuss on that one.
After dinner, Craig took us up to the top if the John Hancock building which has the most incredible view of Chicago after the Sears Tower (but the Sears Tower costs money and this view was free). We took the elevator up to the 96th floor. I couldn't wrap my head around being up 96 floors. I don't think I have ever been on the 96th floor of anything. It was the kind of height that made your ears pop going up and down the elevators. The kind of height that dwarved buildings that we'd otherwise call skyscrapers. The kind of height that makes you wonder if humans should be allowed to be that high up. If the streets below really go on forever, like they seem to.
We took a cab back the hotel and called it a night after saying goodbye to everyone. I went to sleep feeling in awe of my own day, of the beauty of Chicago, and the friendships I have the privilege of making on these types of trips.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that when we went to return the leather jackets at the store after the shoot, I had grown so attached to mine that I ended up buying it rather than giving it back. The guy was so, so nice; he gave me a discount on it, but I'm still a little ashamed of how much it was. Something like $150. It looked awesome, okay? And EVERYONE on set pressured me into buying it. xD