Hi there readers. I’ll be taking you on a real world tour today! Well not a world tour, but a town tour I suppose, with a building in Urbana, a feeling on campus, and a latrine from Champaign. Now, you might be asking why I chose to highlight a place on the U of I campus instead of Savoy, the actual other town in town. Well, nobody really thinks of Savoy as a separate town, but everyone treats the U of I campus like it is a separate town. Or maybe a separate planet, populated only by teenage cannibal aliens. Most residents of C-U seem pretty irked that somebody would put such a dangerous place right in between Champaign and Urbana, and then also have the gall to locate most of the jobs there. Anyway, this is my column and I’m saying Campustown is a town, so come along on my grand Westward journey.

Kirby’s Firestone Tire and Service Center

Look at this building! It’s adorable!

Take a moment to appreciate all of this delightful brickwork! Wow!

This front office part is the best part of the business. It dates back to the 1940s and looks just like a gas station from one of those porcelain Christmas village sets. 

However, I do not love the easternmost part of this business.

Instead of endearing bricks, this separate building has cold, hard, white, metal sheets. Bleh. Definitely not from the 40s. I learned that this building used to be a totally separate auto repair shop with a different aesthetic, so I’ll cut Kirby Firestone some slack. They’ve at least added some red highlights here so it looks like the others if you squint.

When I finally own a hot rod, this is the only place I’ll take it to be serviced.

Soaking up some rays in the Krannert Amphitheatre

It’s SPRINGTIME now, so if it’s not raining or tornado-ing currently, stop reading this and GO OUTSIDE! If you’re already outside, stop reading this and instead LOOK AT SOME CLOUDS OR FLOWERS OR SOMETHING. Or just sit with your eyes closed and absorb some of that beautiful, life-giving sunlight.

Since I openly hate winter here, I take my sun times very seriously. There are many spots on campus that are good for basking, and I’ve already written about some of them. Today though I want to highlight the Krannert Amphitheatre.

The Krannert Amphitheatre is an amphitheater which they’ve decided is prestigious enough to be capitalized and use the British spelling of the word. It’s a great place for sun-soakin’. The seats might not be the most comfortable, but you have a truly commanding view of Goodwin Avenue.

“But Tom,” you may now be saying, “which of the nine rows of seating is the best?!” Well fear not, because I’ve tried them all, and I have the definitive ranking:

9th - 2nd
8th - 1st
7th - 4th
6th - 6th
5th - 8th
4th - 3rd
3rd - 7th
2nd - 9th
1st - 5th

Hope that clears it up!

An excellent space to hang out, but not great for napping.

Men’s room at Collective Pour

Collective Pour is the latest bar to open in downtown Champaign (unless some secret speakeasy has opened in the last couple weeks that I don’t know about…which is actually pretty likely). Of course, it’s my duty to investigate this new bar bathroom.

First off, this is a very spacious restroom. They could have maybe fit a second urinal in here if they wanted to. Plus, high ceilings! There’s tile EVERYWHERE and everything is nice and new and clean.

Slight side note: I see so many restrooms where people have mounted soap dispensers on the walls, but then apparently over time decided they’re gonna stop refilling them, and instead just have some normal softsoap from Sam’s Club or something. I often wonder why this happens (did the employee with the key to the dispensers leave under mysterious circumstances preventing anyone else from refilling them??) Regardless, Collective Pour will never have this issue, as they’ve opted to not mount dispensers, but go straight for the store-bought stuff you could find in a home. In this case it’s “coconut and monoi” scented, and I rather like it.

On to my biggest complaint about this bathroom: the COMPLETE LACK OF CHARACTER. Seriously, look at this massive bare wall.

Nothing at all to indicate that you’re in a bar with a particularly large draft selection. If you just dropped me in this restroom and asked me what was outside, I’d probably say a plastic surgeon’s office or an upscale law firm.

And look, literally just outside the bathroom door are these nice glamour shots of local beers.

Why can’t we get some of those inside the bathroom huh? Look, I know hanging pictures on walls covered in tile isn’t the easiest thing, but it’s 2019, WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. Make it happen Collective Pour.

If that soap goes missing, I probably stole it while tipsy.

Remember to put sunscreen on when sunbathing, and tune in next month for some more words straight from my brain!