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Chicago, I Love You

5 Jul

It’s official: I love Chicago.

I mean, I love Boston a little bit more.

But in a head to head competition, these days I may have a tough time picking between the two cities.

If I ever left Boston for good (and I have no plans to do that), I’d make a beeline to Chicago. That’s just how I feel after a fantastic long (and yet still too short) weekend in the Windy City.

It was my annual July 4 trip to Chicago, which means I also spent time in Michigan City, Indiana. Combined, it was just awesome. Continue reading

Summer in Michigan City

6 Jul

Growing up in suburban New York, I never thought that one day I’d get really excited about spending July 4 in Michigan City, Indiana.

But after going there last year and having a great time, that’s what’s happened. So that’s why I went to Chicago this weekend.

Thursday and Friday I wandered around town (about 6 miles of walking, in fact), took a day trip to Evanston to see Northwestern (just for fun), checked out two of Chicago’s leading cupcake places (Molly’s and Sweet Mandy B’s — both of which were tasty, but not as good as the hype), had some custom-made rapid-frozen ice cream at a place called iCream (really, that’s its name), and finally got to meet my friends’ daughter, who is totally cute.

But spending the weekend in Lake Michigan was the highlight of the trip. Continue reading

The American Way?

24 Oct

I was in Chicago (or, more accurately, at a hotel near O’Hare) this week for the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Mixer. Great time, a very worthwhile couple days. But don’t you hate it when a nice trip is ruined by the ride home?

Here’s what happened: My two coworkers and I were scheduled to be on the 7:40 American Airlines flight out of O’Hare Thursday night, but we got to the airport a little early so that we could try and go standby on the 5:55. No surprise, we were not the only ones with that idea, and we weren’t so lucky. So, we decided to grab some dinner and wait. The weather outside was bad; it was raining pretty hard. But planes were still taking off, although some were starting to be delayed — including ours, which we learned was pushed back from 7:40 to 10:30. (Holy delay, Batman!) Um, that sucks, we thought, and we ordered another round of drinks.

A couple hours later, though, some odd stuff started happening: We saw that the flight to Boston scheduled for 9:35 had also been delayed, but only until 9:55. Why was a flight scheduled to take off after ours, that’s going to the same destination, leaving before ours? How does that happen? Why was our flight delayed nearly three and a half hours (at this point, the departure time had changed to 11:00), and this one only 20 minutes? That’s very wrong, we thought. Of course, by the time we noticed this, it was too late to try and get on the flight.

And then, around 10:40, we made our way to our gate, where we found just about nobody waiting for the flight. That’s because the time had been moved up to 10:45. We just barely made it! Given how rare it is for a flight to take off early, and given how long this one had been delayed for, why wasn’t there an announcement made over the public address system? How much would that have sucked if we had been at the airport for six hours and then ultimately missed our flight?

I can think of worse things for American Airlines to have done than to delay us for 3.5 hours, and to tell us early enough so we didn’t have to stress. It’s not like they kept pushing back the flight by 30 minutes or an hour at a time, and we had to sit there not knowing what was going on. And it’s not like we were stuck on the plane waiting for it to take off, or anything like that, either. And it’s not like the pilot overshot the runway on his way into Logan Airport. And, truth be told, it wasn’t so bad hanging out waiting for our flight; we ate, we drank, we watched the ballgame, and we had a good time.

But seriously, American. What was up with that scheduling? We should have left before the 9:35 flight did. Isn’t that what being in line is all about? And given the late hour and the few people still left in the terminal, couldn’t you have made a loud-enough announcement about pushing up the departure time?

And, because our flight was delayed for such a long time, aren’t you supposed to offer us a voucher or something? Isn’t that what most airlines do in that situation?

I know the weather and the delays weren’t your fault, but I still think you could have handled things a little bit better.

It Never Lets Me Down

8 Jul

I say it every time I go there, but it’s true: Chicago is my kind of town.

And my trip over the past few days was definitely one of the best yet.

Sure, I do some of the same things whenever I’m in the Windy City (hello, Bean), but I haven’t had the same agenda twice.

There’s always something new and different to do. Continue reading

On the Edge

2 Jul

The Ledge at the Sears Tower in Chicago officially opens today.

I totally want to go and check it out.

I mean, when you’ve gone skydiving and taken a trapeze lesson, how scary can it be to stand in a 1.5-inch–thick glass box that’s extended out 4.3 feet from the Sears Tower’s 103rd floor, 1,353 feet off the ground?

If I get to do it, I’ll let you know the answer to that question. In the meantime, here’s a clip about the Ledge from yesterday’s Today Show.

They’ve Got the Blues

3 Dec

Cadillac Records tells the story of the influential Chess Records label, founded by Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) in Chicago in the 1950s, and home to such legendary artists as Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), Little Walter (Columbus Short), and Etta James (Beyoncé Knowles).

The film includes all the essentials of the musical biopic, including sex, drugs, and a sketchy manager-type — the title comes from Chess’ habit of paying off his successful artists with Cadillacs, instead of giving them the money they’re rightfully earned.

But it also includes one other very important element: great music. Continue reading

Seriously Good

19 Jul

I’m happy to report that everything you’ve heard, all that hype, is true: The Dark Knight is awesome.

More crime thriller than comic book movie, this film simply raises the game — for Batman movies, for movies adapted from comic books, for summer movies, for action movies, and maybe even for movies in general.

And that’s not even taking into account how cool it is to watch on an IMAX screen.

The Dark Knight is just one great movie. Continue reading