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I'm in Chicago. At a Starbucks. Trying hard not to feel dirty about that.

Trip was great. I saw the sunrise over a lake near Glacier National Park. So many fascinating people on the train. I overpacked, pretty severely, and will need to seek out new luggage because I split the seam of my carry-on. Sometimes I just need to be stopped.

I'd hoped to write more from the train, but my assumption that there would be power outlets at the seats (based on a statement from the Amtrak website) was "wrongo bongo, O tiny one." I did get a start on Atlas Shrugged and devoted most of my iBook's battery power to a viewing of Sideways. Sadly, knowing this in advance would have reduced some of my excess baggage. I do, however, have a workaround scheme to try on the way back. I do so hate being thwarted.

Chicago is beautiful so far. It takes me a while to get oriented and comfortable in a new city, so three days doesn't quite cut it. Even so, it's a great getaway.

And the best is yet to come. I haven't seen barlow_girl yet, which just seems wrong. That will be remedied in a few short hours. Festivity ensues.
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At a Starbucks. Trying hard not to feel dirty about that.

Can you explain that? I hear all the time that I am supposed to feel dirty or guilty about patronizing Starbuck's ... but no one so far has been able or willing to tell me why?
For me, Starbucks is right at the intersection of my coffee snobbery and my distaste for corporate giants.

From a Seattle perspective, the coffee is OK but not great. There's not much more art in it than in a Big Mac, but it's pretty consistent across thousands of franchises. So without a better alternative, at least you know what you're getting, and in many places, that's better than the other available options. In Seattle, it's not better, yet I've seen two of them on the same block. I'd prefer to go with the little guy, so long as the little guy knows what he's doing.

That said, I don't fault them for being successful; it's just a little...much sometimes.
Have you ever seen Best In Show? Where the two yuppies are talking about how they met in Starbucks, but not the same Starbucks...they were on the corner across the street from each other.
It's actually not franchised out, it's a corporate store. haha.