4:30 or so: Arrived at the hotel. Got a room on the top floor, very cool (it's a Starwood Preferred Guest floor, don't you know). The exercise facility is on this floor, not that I will need it. I gots walking to do.
I looked for vending machines (none on this floor) and guests upon whom I could look down. None so far.
Spent about 45 minutes not planning my itinerary for tomorrow and Friday.
Google: Hey dude, you should totally do this: take Metra to here (but ask the conductor to let you off), then catch this bus, then that bus, and you're like there. But on the way back, take this other bus first, then this other bus, and then go back from this other station. Cool, k?
Me: How about I take the Metra to Union Station, walk a few blocks, and take the Red Line north?
Google: oh. right.
See, Metra is the key. Buses and trains come by often, but Metra only runs hourly during the times I'll be using it (unless I miss the 6:40 again and spend two hours in Union Station), so it doesn't really matter if I try to knock 15 minutes off my trip by taking buses. I'll arrive in plenty of time by taking the Red Line, so that's what I'm doing.
I might have to check out this new Chicago Card thing. My CTA card expires in December anyway ... have to remember that there is an agent on Friday at the Itasca station. (It's $2 more if you buy on the train when you could have bought from an agent. Last year, I didn't take the train on Friday.)
7:30: Headed out to grab a sandwich and stuff, back to the room, but up the stairs, oh yes. 22 flights. (12th floor, remember.) Short flights, but flights nonetheless. So that justifies my Spicy Italian rather than Oven Roasted Chicken Breast. (I did not get cookies, either. I did, however, pick up three of my protein bars for breakfast Friday through Sunday, and at only a slight markup from the prices at home.)
Two wedding receptions in the hotel this weekend. Interesting. Too bad I left my "perfect for attracting guests attending a wedding reception at a fancypants hotel" outfit at home. However, if they like baseball caps and shorts, I'm in.
8:05: Footlong sandwich gone. Guess I was hungry. (I hadn't eaten since lunch ... when away from home, I tend to ignore hunger unless it's convenient to eat. Saves money that way.) Now off to Worldwide Soccer Manager 2009 to finish the current season. The ungrateful sods at Hyde fired me with less than a month to go because I couldn't assemble strikers out of soda cans and glue. My replacement has led them down one more spot in the table, including a loss to a rival whom we beat when I was in charge. Good luck, guys ...