I will try and choke out this entry despite my tie. Let's just say this conference is confirming why I don't like conferences. I spent most of the welcoming reception dodging consultants who were trying to get my business card. I think they get paid by how many business cards they collect. I'm amazed, however, at my ability to to fake interest in an explanation of designing software to monitor lubricants for light rail cars.
I also had to talk one of the bartenders at the reception through how to make a bourbon and soda. He apparently was new at bartending and had never heard of bourbon and soda. When I explained that it involved "bourbon" and "soda" he looked very puzzled until I pointed out the correct bottle. He then threw Coca Cola into the glass and seemed very pleased with himself. I didn't have the heart to tell him it was supposed to be Club Soda. But then this is Atlanta where Coke came from. I wished the people in line behind me at the bar luck and darted for the food line. Let me tell you, there is nothing like pecan encrusted chicken tenders.
The four and a half hour flight was ok since I was able to upgrade to First Class on Delta (bless their southern hearts). It was that or battle with the unwashed masses in coach and pay extra for a sandwich. Though the great unwashed in First Class weren't much better. Nothing like businessmen popping off their shoes and parking their dirty feet on the bulkhead. Flying isn't what it used to be.
The hotel is ok. It's supposedly the tallest hotel in America and the view is kind of cool. I can see both the Hard Rock and the Hooters from my window. Though part of the Hooters sign is burned out and it reads "oters" at night. That cracks me up.
The three hour time difference threw me for awhile. By the time I was hungry the first night it was past 11 a.m. and the only thing available was late night room service. I've got to say, the people in Atlanta are very polite. There were very polite when I ordered a $12 plate of eggs, bacon and hashbrowns. I was polite, too when they brought eggs, french fries and no bacon. They were less polite when they brought the missing bacon.
Television is ok. Not my mega satellite system or TIVO. But I was able to flip back and forth between the National Geographic channel and a program about who built Stone Henge and a story on MSNBC about a convicted killer's last days on death row. I never did figure out who built Stone Henge (not the druids, despite their claims to the contrary), but the killer didn't get his last appeal. He did find Jesus, however.
I've eaten at the Hard Rock twice because I'm too embarrassed to go into Oters.
Fortunately the conference is a few blocks away from my hotel. You just have to weave your way through the Marta Station, Peachtree Center and a food court to get here. I haven't really seen much of Atlanta except for the cab ride in. At least I think it was a cab ride. The guy caught me outside of baggage claim and asked if I was looking for a cab. He looked real puzzled when I replied, "Why is one missing?" He offered to drive me to the hotel for a flat rate and proceeded to lead me back through baggage claim, up the escalator and into the garage. The cab didn't have any markings or a meter or radio dispatch. I sat in the back knowing he was going to drive me into the swamps outside the city, kill be and take my Blackberry. The religious music he was blasting on the radio wasn't much comfort. I figured it was just a ruse. Despite my fears, he did drop me off at the hotel and gave me a receipt. I still have my Blackberry (though I offered it to him).
I've tried walking around a bit, but I keep coming to the intersection of Peachtree and Peachtree and I give up. I have found the crackheads here much more polite than the crackheads in Seattle. They are very polite when they threaten you here. That southern hospitality, I guess.
Now I'm waiting for an award ceremony for some marketing projects I've worked on. Because lord knows, it's all about the awards.
Wish me luck. If I win, I may just go to Oters to celebrate.