Auto Show: I Must Have a Kia
Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

Cha Cha MacGillicutty, my chef, was in the kitchen making omelets by 10:00. I was making the bacon. We had a big day ahead and would certainly need this kind of fortitude. Eying her four egg omelets next to my warming pan of three pieces of bacon, I decided to add a few more slices. A good breakfast is all about balance. The sizzle of the bacon lulled me into a state of vapid bliss, only slightly broken by occasional slurp of coffee. I hadn't noticed that Cha Cha was starting a third omelet until she was well into it.

To ask any questions might have been construed as weakness, so I quietly added eight more pieces of bacon to the growing pile of pork heaven glistening in the skillet before me. After some thought, I downed half the coffee in my mug and decided to not again fall into a morning stupor, given the stakes. The two of us, cooking breakfast...not paying attention....with all the bacon and eggs stashed throughout the house. Powder keg.

I awoke again from a stupor. The skillet was now piled with several pounds of golden browned bacon, probably half my reserves. Cha Cha jerked awake to catch a huge pile of omelets as it shifted unstably. Bags which used to contain vegetables and cheese lay strewn about the floor, along with some chicken bones, apple cores, jelly beans, It was like everything in the cabinets was pulled into the vortex of omelet production. The last omelet made, sitting on the very top of the pile, appeared studded with animal crackers and diced horseradish. It steamed.

"Ready to eat?" I ventured, the fear and hunger shaking me into complete consciousness.

"Sure" she replied.

An hour later we were slowly working our way down Irving Park to the blue line, heading to the great spectacle of the Chicago Auto Show. The journey was a difficult mixture of the bacon sweats, the egg sweats, the coffee sweats, and sensations of bodily processes mysterious and unseen, with both of us pitched into the primitive throws of what it takes to process that kind of breakfast. By the time we arrived at the show we were mostly sorted out and ready to go.

I felt a steely concentration of purpose. Dr. Skippy Ninetoes, renown journalist and instigator, was unable to make it to the show, being stuck in California. For years he has evaded my attempts to collaborate on projects, things destined to bring us riches if only we could combine our powers. There was the print magazine "Underwater Automobile Living" ("what's the demographic exactly?"), the web blog "Skippy and Erik Crash a Rolls-Royce" ("where the hell would we get a Rolls-Royce?") and what I feel was certain to succeed, a complete line of Skippy and Erik action figures, with Evil Villains BlackHeart and the Greek, and a set of various race tracks and cars in which the figures could endlessly race, with either Skippy and I always winning. ("I don't know who you are, but you need to stop calling me!")

So here was my chance to show Dr. Skippy what just one of us could do, armed only with a couple cameras and a good breakfast, and Cha Cha, my assistant.

[ tags: autoshow chicago hp5 hp5@1600 leica m4 travel ]

Auto Show: Trucks
Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

It was great to see that the auto companies understand the best purpose of a truck: to haul yer dirt bike from trail to trail. Most producers had a display like this, suzuki being lucky enough to put one of their own dirt bikes into one of their own trucks.

Truck Winner: Suzuki

[ tags: autoshow chicago hp5 hp5@1600 leica m4 travel ]

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