In Chicago

So I’m in Chicago and things are not going quite as planned, update-wise.  Saskatoon Airport has free wifi.  Winnipeg airport requires an account with Telus or a ridiculous credit-card charge.  The hotel which I’m staying at advertises “free wifi access in every room”, or something along those lines.  When I read that, I think “free wifi”, but the key word is actually “access”.  Because when I open Safari on my iPod, I need to go through a gateway to set up a charge account (or bill to my room) to get unlimited internet access for $9.99US each day.  I still haven’t decided if Twittering is worth that much.  I’m thinking maybe not.  (Maybe Randall with feel otherwise and let me borrow his iPod or laptop for a bit.)

And my iPod decided to freeze up after I got onto transit.  It won’t shut down, it won’t let me use it.  Can’t do anything about it until I get to the hotel.  So no Twittering from coffee shops in the city, I’m afraid.

It was an uneventful trip.  I was patted down at customs in Winnipeg.  I wasn’t sure if we’d actually leave the airport, it was such a blustery day there.  O’Hare is too much airport, but I found my way to the shuttle/bus station for a complimentary ride to the hotel.  The hotel is swanky, but the denomination has worked out some kind of deal so that we’re actually paying less than we’d probably pay at a budget hotel (aside from meals).

How am I doing this?  Well, I’ve made it to Northpark University/Seminary.  I am in the library and one of the assistants has kindly logged me in as a guest.

Getting here was my goal for today (success!), but now that I’m here, I’m not sure what I should do.  I’ll check out the library and the seminary.  I’ve wandered the campus a bit (it’s a nice campus) and I’ve looked at some of the student housing (from the outside).  But what else to do here?  I don’t know–perhaps the point is just to get a sense of the place.  I may end up at Northpark again on Wednesday with someone in the know (who should be en route soon).

After Northpark I plan on making my way downtown and wandering around the “Miracle Mile”.  As I say, I’ll be doing some touristy stuff with Randall on Wednesday evening for sure, but I couldn’t just sit in that hotel all day.  So I ventured out on this beautiful day.

I’ve already met  a couple of Covenanters already–one from California, another from Alaska.  I was on the same flights as the Melfort church’s new pastor, although we didn’t introduce each other until we were in Chicago (but somehow I already knew he was heading to the conference).  Seems like many people know each other already here.  Me?  I’m one in about 8 million people right now and I know nobody.  The anonymity is kind of nice, but then walking around a hotel filled with pockets of people talking to each other…

From what I can tell, I fall somewhere in between a large crowd of hip, trendy twenty-somethings and the older, old-school looking Covenant pastors.  Not sure where I fit in.

Registered this morning.  Free books!  Well, “free”–they come with registration.  Some great selections, including Scot McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet and N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope.  Unfortunately, I already own (and have read) both!  No matter–they shall become gifts or church library donations.  Couple of other interesting books in the bunch as well.

Got into almost all of the workshops I wanted to.  Unfortunately, that did not include the one I really, really wanted to be in: Scot McKnight’s one-day workshop on The Blue Parakeet.  It’s a good book that has generated some questions.  Plus, I’m (attempting to) teach the youth Sunday school class on that book, so some more in-depth discussion about it would have been helpful.  Alas.  Maybe I can sneak in, or someone won’t show up, or maybe because it’s so popular (it filled up by December 15, well before I registered) they’ll add second workshop on the book (not likely).

Anyway, that’s all.  I’m off to browse the library catalogue for a bit, then to the seminary building, then to find my way back to the Blue Line (or Brown Line) and to downtown.

8 thoughts on “In Chicago

  1. Andrew

    That’s false advertising – clearly, a reasonable interpretation of the advertisement is that a hotel guest receives free wifi. You should raise a stink.

  2. SharonK

    I hear Klyne Snodgrass is heading up the morning sessions. If you get a chance to speak with the fellow, say “Hi” from Ken and I. He may remember us. I was working at CBC when it was in P.A. and he and several other profs were up doing some teaching during the summer. Anyway, he’ll most likely remember his trip to Waskesiu, if not the Kents!

    Enjoy your time there. It will be good for you.

  3. Toni

    Glad you made it OK. And I agree with Andrew – ‘free’ WiFi access clearly means access to the internet is available in your room at no charge. However it may be the hotel’s way of recouping some of the discount, and it would be free if you were paying $130 a night.

  4. Tal

    Marc, on your ipod:

    Hold down the middle button and the top of the scroll wheel at the same time for at least 10 seconds until the screen goes black. Then you should be able to start as usual.

  5. terry

    I got frisked last time thru winnipeg to Ohare as well. Just my luck I was also late for my flight. But I made it.

    Have fun in the windy city. I find myself there about once a month as the company I work for is based in the suburbs out there. Never a long enough trip to really experience the town though unfortunately.

    t

  6. Toni

    Oh, fwiw I ALWAYS get the full body check in the US, at EVERY security gate. Comes with having a passport in a different language (and I don’t mean English English).

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