Since there was some type of bug in the system that prevented my pictures from being uploaded and visible to you folks last Monday, I wanted to put up this quick note that the pictures from my Chicago trip are NOW available on JerseySmarts.com! All you have to do is go back to last Monday’s post about my Chicago trip and you’ll see the pictures there!
As you all know, last week I spent some time in Chicago at the National Charter Schools Conference. The conference was great, but from a personal perspective one of my challenges was to see if I could stomach returning to Chicago – a city where I didn’t have the best of experiences a few years back. Even thinking about how ridiculous that bad experience was pisses me off again!
However, last week my time in Chicago was great! I was absolutely stunned at how fun and active downtown Chicago was while I was there. I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was a first for me, and it was a pretty cool place. It didn’t have any major “rock and roll” stuff going on while I was there, but it is located in the old Carbon and Carbide building which has this amazing art deco vibe throughout. It was pretty cool.
On Sunday evening I walked a few blocks from the hotel down to Millennium Park. This park was really the only “sightseeing” that I wanted to do while I was at the conference because when I was in Chicago in 2004 my group kept driving by the park without actually stopping at it to see what was up. It’s really a nice place and there was a ton of activity for a Sunday night. On Monday, I had a separate conference to attend that was about a mile from my hotel so I walked downtown (over the North Michigan bridge) to get to the conference place and it was fun. It’s been a long time since I walked around a city on a consistent basis and I forgot how much I liked it.
Anyway, I was really pleased with my trip to Chicago and my opinion of the place has changed. The city is clean, vibrant, and has amazing architecture. I’d definitely go back again – and soon! Here are some pictures from my walking and driving around Chicago:
Later today I’ll be getting aboard my flight and heading to Chicago, Illinois for most of this week. My flight out of Chicago is late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning so I expect to be back in Tinton Falls, New Jersey by the wee morning hours of this Thursday. I have mixed feelings about going back to Chicago. For some of the long, long-time readers of this blog – you may remember nearly 6 years ago when I went out there and was treated like shit by a nearly-illiterate bouncer at a bar and one of the worst, poorly-performing, disgrace to the uniform police officers in the country.
If I had my way, I’d carve out some time to go back to that shit hole of a bar and do something to “get them” six years after the fact. Bunch of sleazeball scumbags…
Anyway, I’m heading to Chicago for the tenth annual National Alliance for Public Charter Schools conference. On a personal level, I’m a big believer in the ability for charter schools to change the educational dynamic in highly educationally distressed areas of New Jersey and the United States. Professionally, I manage my company’s charter school programs so I’m obviously going to go to the national conference.
I went to this conference last year when it was in Washington, DC and it was pretty good. There are usually thousands of people at the conference so I’m looking forward to seeing some folks that I haven’t seen in a while. Also, the keynote speaker this year is Bill Gates so I’m hoping to catch up with him and hopefully get a picture (unlikely since there is usually a mob of people around the keynote speaker).
This will also be the first time that I am traveling by air with my laptop so I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m hoping that it will be easy going. No worries here, folks. I have some posts already lined up for the next few days and they should automatically appear on the site without any work on my part. Enjoy and I’ll be back next weekend!
When I was younger, I used to watch the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan dominate almost every team in the NBA. In my grade school, there was a large following of Chicago fans and our gym classes often wound up with the class broken in teams of Bulls fans and Knicks fans – we’d use these teams as the basis for all sports, not just basketball. It was fun.
Then when I got into high school I was so occupied with playing football and wrestling that I really didn’t have the time to watch much basketball. As a result, I wound up not watching any NBA games for a number of years – even though college and graduate school. In 2006, when I was finished going to school full-time, I took fleeting glances at the NBA to see if it could hold my interest and I was completely unimpressed. Aside from the fact that everyone is absolutely gaga for Lebron James (which is extremely annoying), I believe that the most disenfranchising aspect of the NBA is the utter lack of maturity among some of the players.
You only need to look at the ridiculous case of the Wizards players flipping guns around in the locker room for the perfect example of what I’m talking about. Here’s some stupidity from the linked article:
The New York Post has reported that Arenas and Crittenton drew guns on each other. When asked about that Saturday, Arenas said: “I can’t speak on that. But if you know me, you’ve been here, I’ve never did anything [involving] violence. Anything I do is funny — well, it’s funny to me.”
You’ve never “did anything violence?” Really? Are you sure that you’ve never “done anything violent?” Okay, I’m not the grammar police, but what about the content? Is it funny to flip a gun around in the locker room? Seems to me that’s about as funny as hosting dog fights…
At some point when I was in college I heard the NBA referred to as “Ghetto Ball.” I didn’t believe this adjective until I began to see this type of stuff: players jumping in the crowds to fight fans, uncontrollable marijuana use among players, children calling themselves “King” in high school because they’re a big fish in a small pond, players pulling guns on one another, etc. I don’t have time for this type of immaturity.
The other problem that I have with watching the NBA is that I’m not that into the Chicago Bulls any more. I’d rather root for the home team. However, the home team in New Jersey is the Nets and, well, they suck. On top of them sucking, this is a team that is trying its damnedest to get into Brooklyn in the Atlantic Yards development. While I think it would be cool to have a Brooklyn-based NBA team, if it means losing the New Jersey franchise, then that’s not good for our state, is it?
Anyway, until the NBA cleans its act up, I’ll stick to watching Monmouth University’s Hawks. Sure, it’s a different level of competition, but at least I know the kids don’t have guns flying around nor are they looking to get into a fist fight with the fans!