We had rooms at the Marriott Courtyard in downtown Chicago (a fantastic location on Hubbard Street) which was fairly close to Rose's apartment ... she said that she loved it because when she hung out with us in the evenings it was if she were on vacation also).
Unfortunately Tom wound up spending a fair amount of time managing the defense against a website attack against one of our clients (not sure if the attack was the result of personal malice or the desire to take the site down and then demand "ransom" but either way it was annoying).
However, Hannah and I spent most of one day at the Art Institute which has so many glorious paintings that it is impossible to choose a favorite. We spent most of our time in the impressionist galleries though as they were in storage the only other time I was there and that is what Hannah wanted to see as well.
We did break Tom away to go to the Museum of Science and Industry where our favorite exhibit was the U-505 Submarine. An actual Nazi submarine in the flesh (so to speak) and the only one captured. An amazing story and the submarine itself was fascinating. We didn't have time to see the Apollo exhibit which I feel would have come in a close second, but surely we'll be in Chicago again and there will be another chance to go there. We also spent some time strolling through the Japanese Garden behind the museum, another rehabilitated site that began as part of the Chicago World Fair. It is not only beautiful but just in the limited time we were there it was obvious that it is a wonderful place for birdwatching.
Then the graduation ... as only Columbia College probably can do it:
- This is the only graduation I have ever been to where they really do drop balloons and the graduates all throw their caps in the air.
- Certainly it is the only graduation I am likely to attend where they had an hour pre-show of three musical entertainments: a gospel choir accompanied by orchestra, a jazz ensemble, and a recording/pop group.
- As well, there were frequent stops between speeches to feature more music, video montages, and poetry.
- Definitely it is the only graduation I have attended where the graduating class comes in to a specially written march that sounds like "Sing, Sing, Sing", and where the faculty literally dances up on stage to "Walk This Way" and where everyone patiently waits for the last jazz guitar solo to finish before seating themselves.
- I was most impressed by the president of the college who actually had a personal remark for each one of the 2,000 graduates whose hand he was shaking as they crossed the stage. (This was the first of three graduation ceremonies over the weekend ... I can only imagine how sore that man's hand was at the end of Sunday.)
- Best speech was the alumni David Cronin (sp?) ... who kept it short and honest.
If I can trust my calendar then I have a Busted Halo interview tonight ... but I haven't checked email while I was gone (and it was heavenly, believe me!).
Obviously, I missed y'all and will be checking email and back here, but responses will be slow as I catch up.
Thank you for your patience!