Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Blogger catch up and WEB2000 report

After I got blogger to work from the Palm V at web 2000, I was too busy to go back and put this entry in. I've also been pretty busy since getting back so I've neglected the blog even further.
Harry Potter - It's just a book.

"No. You are a lunatic." - Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling at
the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, to an audience
member who asked whether her books encourage Satanism.

From USA Today; 10/31/2000; page 1 - Section D (Life)

I had a pretty good trip to Web 2000.

Sunday 10/29 I had to get up way too early to fly to San Francisco. Outside of a near heart stopping dash to make my connecting flight in Dallas, I had a pretty uneventful trip. I was in the hotel room at the Argent Hotel by 12:30 pm local time. Of course this was 2:30 pm Oklahoma time so I was really happy my wife had packed me a lunch. I ate it up, Yum Yum. I tried to call some friends in Alameda but got a busy signal so I walked around the SOMA area of San Francisco for a couple of hours. It reminded me a lot of walking around Manhattan. When Tamara got there she said it wasn't as dirty as NYC but there was still enough trash, random pungent smells, the homeless and crowding to make it a major urban area. I did finally get in touch with John and Kathleen. Following their directions I was able to navigate the BART out to Oakland where they picked me up and took me out to eat at their favorite Indian food resturant in Alameda. I can't remember the name and I couldn't get back there to save my life but the food was pretty good. I had the Rogan Gosh (a lamb dish in a spicy brown sauce), John got a yellow spicy chicken dish and Kathleen got a big plate of Vegetable rice. We all shared and had a grand old time. There was also a drink, whose name I can't remember that ended up being a Mango and yogurt smoothie -- it was pretty dang good. Since the Bart closes at 8 pm on Sunday, John was kind enough to drive me over the Bay Bridge and back to my hotel room.

Monday 10/30 I spent the whole day in the WEB2000 pre-session "Web Process & Project Management" presented by Chris Frye and Marc Rettig. These guys know what they are doing. The 150 page handout book for this seminar has just tons of good stuff. I'm going to be working for the better part of the next year to implement these ideas at work. After the conference I walked around and ended up at the Sony Metreon. It's four floors of marketing and sales geared to separate you from lots of your money. I ate at an overpriced Italian grill (Firewood Cafe) and walked around the various shops. I really liked the Discovery Channel store and the Mobius store. At the Mobius store they had a display of Emily Strange merchandise. I think the stuff is kind of cute in a bad attitude way.

Tuesday 10/31 Halloween I spent the whole day in the WEB2000 pre-session "Relationship Marketing on the Web" presented by Roger C. Parker. This presentation had lots of good content but not as much as Monday. It was more targetted at converting browsers into purchasers and purchasers into return purchasers but there's lots of this that can be applied to a site for a hospital system in Oklahoma. After the conference I met up with a couple of people from the conference who were going out to the Castro area of San Francisco because of the spontaneous party that happens there every Halloween. They had costumes so I went to the Halloween superstore across from the Hotel and bought a Court Jester shirt and a mask to join in on the fun. We rode the MUNI train out to Castro and Market and immediately hit a wall of people. There were lots of people and lots of wacky costumes. There was also lots of music and dancing and quite a few people with video cameras looking to fill a tape they'll never look at again. I eventually was separated from the rest of the people and didn't even try to find them. I made it back to the hotel before they shut MUNI down at 1am and got ready for the next day of the conference.

Wednesday 11/01 More sessions all day on managing projects so you don't go over budget, building communites and developing online training. At one point I went back to the hotel room to see Tamara and Duncan but they weren't there. They were travelling from Oklahoma City to San Francisco today and they were supposed to get there by 3 pm. It all turned out that there was such bad weather in Dallas that they had two flights cancelled and then were put on a flight that would go to Chicago and then they could get a connection to San Francisco. Needless to say that they were pretty tired by the time they got to San Francisco. After a quick McDonald's meal and some TV we all went to bed.

Thursday 11/02 More WEB2000. I saw sessions on content management with XML, Computer Books, Interactive DHTML, and the Technology Track meeting focussing on successes with widely differing technology choices. Tamara and Duncan were joined by John and Kathleen and they all went around San Francisco doing the tourist thing. I think they focussed on the wharf areas near where the big aquarium is (I don't know which wharf that's on). Kathleen was starting to get sick so she and John went home after I got back to the hotel after the conference. We all went to the Metreon (they had gone there earlier too). We ate at the "In The Night Kitchen" resturant which is based on a Maurice Sendak book. Afterwards Duncan and I played in the "Where the Wild Things Are" area while Tamara rested and read. We looked in some of the shops and then went back to the hotel.

Friday 11/03 The last day of WEB2000. I reached full saturation. On this last day I saw sessions on Content Management Systems, Designing for the Future Web and Emerging Technologies Demystified. The word of the day, in fact the word of the whole conference, was XML. It is the future but we can use it now. So I'm gonna get all pumped up and beefy with respect to XML. I found out I'm already doing most of XHTML now (I'm not closing my single tags with an /> and I don't have the header but other than that I'm pretty compliant). After the conference I got my last bag from the Hotel. After sightseeing again (this time mainly at Golden Gate Park) Tamara, Duncan, John and Kathleen grabbed all of the other luggage and went out to Alameda to wait for me. I again rode BART to Oakland and John picked me up and brought me to their house where we had pizza and talked into the night.

Saturday 11/04 This day we went to the beach. We wanted Duncan to see the Pacific Ocean (he's already seen the Atlantic on a trip to New York in 1997 but he doesn't remember it). John and Kathleen took us over to Half Moon Bay. We chose this because it was easy to get to and avoided much of the city traffic further down the peninsula. It was kind of cold and windy at the beach. Duncan looked for seashells but mostly found pieces. After a nice picnic lunch we all walked around (except Kathleen who wasn't feeling well). We eventually took a couple of the drinking cups and made some sand castles. After getting bored with that we started building quick sand castles near the water. We had to hurry because we would go down below where the waves were breaking on the beach and make a quick castle (four towers at most) that would get immediately wiped out by the next big wave. If you messed up or fell down you got nailed by the cold water. We all got wetter than we wanted but it was fun. Afterwards we went to dinner in Oakland at ZZA's, an Italian resturante. It was suggested that there might have been a Private Investigator's office next door at one time. It was pretty good.

Sunday 11/05 This was our big travel home day. Kathleen wasn't feeling very well so I offered to make Biscuits and Gravy, Sausage and Eggs for breakfast. It took a while but everyone seemed to like it. We packed and hung out and talked and then went to the airport. That's where the story gets long and boring -- at least for us it was. Because of weather in Dallas our flight was delayed. After much pesimistic talk about missed flights and being stranded it was recommended that we go ahead and take our delayed flight in case the connecting flight is also delayed. So we sat around the terminal for a couple of hours and finally were loaded onto the plane. Then they told us of another delay of about an hour before we could take off. Once we took off we still had a 3 1/2 hour trip from San Francisco to Dallas. So we got into Dallas about 11 pm and lo and behold but the connecting flight was also delayed so it was still waiting for us. We flew up to Oklahoma City and got our car (Tamara's parents had taken it to the airport for us about 4 pm that day), went home and went to bed. It was after 2 am before that happened.

11/06 - 11/15 We got back so late from the plane I took Monday off. Since then I've been trying to get my life back in order and continue to work. I finished with "Turning Japanese" with my guitar teacher. I found a TAB of The Vapors version but the only version I have on CD is Liz Phair's from her CD Juvenalia. Of course, my guitar teacher immediately noticed that Liz Phair's version is a full step lower than the Vapors' version. But since he has decades of transcribing songs by ear, he whipped out a corrected version of the tab and now I can mangle the song with the best of them. We've since moved on to work on a couple of songs by Fastball.

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