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Business Travel Destination Spotlight

Chicago – the city that has it all – from a diverse population, world-class educational institutions, and sensational restaurants to a breathtaking skyline and countless museums. Dubbed the ‘Windy City’ in 1893 by Charles Dana, the editor of the New York Sun – not for its weather but for its long-winded politicians, Chicago has grown from a village of just 350 to a bustling city of almost three million.

Transportation

Airports Serving Chicago

There are two airports that service the Chicago area – O’Hare International and Midway. O’Hare (ORD) is the larger of the two airports, servicing over 70 million travelers per year. Located 20 miles from downtown, there are many transportation options including public transport, taxis, shuttle services and hire cars.

O’Hare is an airport full of modern amenities and services. Recent upgrades have been completed at the International Terminal 5 and additional renovations are underway at Terminals 2 and 3. Expected completion date is later this year.

Midway (MDW) is significantly smaller than O’Hare, serving 17 million travelers per year, but is only 10 miles from downtown. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) offers transportation from Midway to downtown Chicago via the orange line buses. Other shuttles, regional buses and of course taxis and car services also offer transportation to downtown.

Midway has all of the amenities that you would expect from a major airport, including restaurants and gift shops. You can do some sight seeing in Concourse A where the Battle of Midway Memorial and an SBD Dauntless dive bomber are housed.

Getting Around Chicago

Getting around town is much easier in Chicago than in some other big cities. Renting a car is a good option if you need to visit different locations during your visit. The city has several major highways, but plan to avoid them from about 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 7 pm on weekdays – the traffic delays can be very frustrating. To avoid traffic delays, the train system in Chicago can get you almost anywhere in the city – making it another good choice for business travelers that are sticking to downtown.

The Loop is the heart of the downtown business district – named for the elevated train tracks that circle the area. All of the cities addresses begin at the corner of Sate and Madison streets in The Loop, making the streets easy to navigate. Each 400 increment in an address equals one half mile.

What to See

There is an endless list of things to see and do while in Chicago. If you like to shop, be sure to check out The Magnificent Mile, a one-mile stretch of shops between the Chicago River and Oak Street Beach. There are also numerous internationally known museums in the city. The Field Museum of Natural History is home to the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil and the Art Institute of Chicago is famous for its collection of French Impressionists art.

Between Enthusiasm and Money – Interview With the Author of Sideways – Rex Pickett

In a time when Kirstie Alley is on the cover of People Magazine for gaining eighty seven pounds, Elizabeth Edwards rules the airwaves with a book that promises to dish dirt on her husbands affair and possible love child – do we care about the novelist who puts it all on the line?

We better. It’s our only chance for great stories. Novelists starve, they endure, they barely make it for years. You are always presented with a choice. Keep doing this wrenching wonderful thing or take the easier road like so many before and get a regular job. It is the writers plight to hang by a thread, a nanosecond away from oblivion as you send out your hundredth query, write that final chapter, begin that new story. We hear of the starving artist. For many this is true. The difference is in that moment when you think you can go no further, when truly oblivion seems a better way and nothing good will come of your labor–the difference is the writer who then takes it all and puts it on the line for one last shot and then puts themselves into the writing. That moment when there is nothing left to lose–that is when the possibility of something great quivers on the horizon. Rex Pickett, the author of the novel and movie, Sideways, hit that moment.

“I thought this was it. I’m going to cash it in,” he said on the phone, speaking in a quick staccato voice. “There I was. Rejection letters plastered all over the apartment, divorced, broke, my mother in the hospital, my agent had just died of AIDS, I was in a rent controlled apartment and I still couldn’t pay the rent…a few produced movie shorts, rejected screenplays, novels…but nothing had worked….that’s when I sat down to write Sideways…and it literally saved my life.”

What happened then was a nine week writing marathon that left him exhausted but thrilled.

“I started with this place I went for wine tasting called The Bull Pen…I wanted to write this short story…so while I was writing it this epiphany struck me and I got out of my chair and came up with the idea of Jack and Miles heading up to the wine country for a last hurrah…that was it, I knew I had the book.”

Rex finished the book and after quick rewrites sent it off to an agent at Curtis Brown who loved it, brought over a bottle of wine, and said it read like a film and devised a plan to go after publishing and film simultaneously. The first salvo went down like the Titanic. Fifteen rejections poured in from New York.

“They hated it. Just hated it. Vitriolic. Said it wasn’t literary at all,” Pickett sighed.

So his agent pulled the book and Rex buckled down to rewrite the novel again. Another round of rejections came in and then his agent left the business and he was back to square one.

“Broke…no agent…no prospects…nothing….that’s when I really thought about driving off a cliff. I don’t want to be over dramatic…but I literally didn’t have any money, my mother had a stroke, divorced, and here I was a writer…this is who I am, and I can’t get anywhere.”

Five long dark months later another agent took over the book and went over to creative agency Endeavour. Brian Lipson who wades through material for Alexander Payne read it and after a month of signing with Endeavour, Pickett gets a message on his answering machine from a producer raving about the book, saying Alexander Payne has picked it for his next movie.

“But there’s an old saying in Hollywood, between enthusiasm and money, lies the Grand Canyon,” Rex says laughing. “I mean I met with Alexander and we hugged and all, but then he went and made About Schmidt and my project got shelved.”

Movie deal in hand, Pickett still could not find a publisher for his book. Publishing turned it down again and then the book just dropped from site as a project. The film was on hold for at least two years and Rex Pickett was still without a publisher for his novel. Then agent Dan Strone read an article that said Alexander Payne was making his next movie from an unpublished novel called Sideways.” Strone found it incredible that a successful director like Alexander Payne was making a movie from a book that nobody had picked up the rights too.” He got in contact with Pickett and finally sold the rights to St. Martins for a modest advance.

“I mean here I was….my movie was coming up for production and nobody would publish the book…it was really unbelievable…and yes, I still was waiting for Alexander to begin making the movie.”

Finally production began and Sideways the movie became a reality. The book no one wanted sold a hundred and fifty thousand copies and was translated into eleven languages. The movie Sideways became a hit and launched the careers of Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen. Rex Pickett found fame and some fortune.

“You know most writers toil and don’t make a lot of money. So when a film comes up you get caught up in all the hoopla…people calling you, emailing, offering money for this or that…” Rex pauses on the phone. “But really, at the bottom of it all, I am a storyteller. And the main character, Miles, is me. This guy whose novel has been rejected, divorced, looking for salvation in a bottle of wine. He is the guy behind that film. That guy trying to find himself.” Rex pauses again. “I wrote Sideways when the tank was empty and I was on fumes. I say this very seriously, if I could have afforded a gun I would have shot myself…my whole life was in tatters at that moment…but that’s when I sat down and wrote the book that changed everything.”

Rex Pickett still lives in a rent controlled apartment. He is still writing. This is a good thing.

Business Opportunities From Effective Retail Shop Fronts

Would you like to renovate the historic design and overhead sign of your shop? Modernizing your shop can be quite easy and cost effective, just by simply implementing a shop front. You can create an elegant look to your shop and it is the best way to attract customers to your store. Besides external beauty security applications, reliability, safety and cost effectiveness must also be taken into consideration while designing a shop fronts. Many different types of shop fronts are available in the market these days, and they are classified according to the material used for construction.

Aluminum framing adds more durability and sturdiness to your shop fronts. If you would prefer to have glass shop fronts, aluminum bordering design increases its visual appeal resulting in a design-conscious appearance. Shop fronts with other matched components like doors, windows, cabins and shelves are other factors that increase the attraction and security of your shop fronts.

Civic, Rex, Bis, Jolly E & M, Ten, Exeo and GTC are examples of some of the kinds of shop front which have been used widely by small, medium and large-scale companies with high street stores. An experienced shop front contractor will submit the blueprint and layout drawn according to your description and requirement. Along with the construction, appropriate electrical and plumbing works must also completed by an experienced electrician and plumber. An experienced shop front contractor will guarantee you high quality craftsmanship, excellent customer service, a choice of 3D design, security grills, strong, durable windows, high commitment and competitive pricing.

The appearance of the door fronts are not the only thing taken in to consideration while constructing a shop front. Other store operation-related issues like security measures, lighting, electricity, signs and more must be planned carefully from the beginning of the project development.

The majority of proprietors prefer traditionally designed fronts, often constructed from timber. The chief advantage of wooden shop fronts over other materials is the ease of repair and replacement. Civic, Rex, Bis, Jolly E & M, Ten, Exeo, and GTC are the main types of shop front used widely in high street stores and other organizations. According to the design and the material used the appearance and compatibility varies.

As an overview, having an aesthetically pleasing design on the front of your store could be the most effective way of bringing new customers to your shop, and it could be much cheaper than a new marketing campaign. Despite the well-meaning message of the old phrase, many people do judge a book by its cover so give your store an impressive new look and step into line with the competition.