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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bet Your Bottom Dollar You'll Lose The Blues In Chicago

In Chicago for the AFTRA Convention, a bit of a challenge getting there though.

Got up at 4:30 a.m. yesterday, caught a bus downtown thinking I'd make use of our brand-spanking new light rail (even though it doesn't go all the way to the airport - yet), but we were kicked off two stops before the end-of-the-line because of a traffic accident on the tracks (no trains were involved, we were told). So, they put us on a bus to the last station, then we got on another bus that dropped us off at the airport. My impression of LINK: the trains are nice and comfortable, but even when the airport station opens later this year, I'm not sure it's going to be a faster trip than taking a regular bus.

Did the normal check-in, walk through security, then down to the departure lounge. My flight was scheduled to leave at 8:30 a.m., so I had just enough time to grab a quick airport breakfast (i.e. expensive and most reconstituted) before boarding.

We pulled away from our slot right on-schedule, but then sat on the taxiway for about 45 minutes before the pilot announced we were having a little mechanical difficulty and would be heading back to the gate. After another 15 minutes we were informed that a valve that feeds compressed air from the starter turbine to the engine turbines, thus starting them was malfunctioning, and that, because there was no spare in Seattle, they'd have to ship up a replacement from San Francisco, and that most likely the flight would not be able to leave until around 1:00 p.m.

Fortunately, they also let us know that, if we were travelling beyond the flight's final destination (St. Louis) we could call the airline and rebook on another flight. I lucked out and managed to get a direct flight to Chicago that left at 11;30 a.m. (by now it was after 10:00 a.m.), and I would actually get in an hour earlier than my original schedule.

Unfortunately, it also meant having to get my checked bag, getting back in the ticketing line to re-check it, then back through the security line, then back to another departure gate - talk about feelings of deja vu.

Long story short, finally made it to Chicago about 5:30 local, grabbed my bags, caught a train into downtown, then a taxi from the stop to the hotel, since I had no idea how far it would be, had just enough time to check-in, register my delegation for today's session, then meet them for dinner. Afterward, I took a brief walk around a few blocks of downtown, then crashed about 11:30 p.m.

The convention proper started this morning with a pre-recorded welcome to Chicago from President Obama (guess it helps when the POTUS is from the town where your holding your convention!), and all the usual housekeeping and committee reports that ensue during these things.

Highlight of the morning: during our mid-morning break I went out to the lobby to refill my coffee and while I was pouring some half-and-half into my cup this very soft, slightly southern drawl behind me asked, "excuse me, may I have a little of that?"

And that's how I ended up pouring cream into Morgan Fairchild's coffee.

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Posted byCOMTE on 8:10 AM

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