Orlando

Altamonte Springs – Day 2

Hello from sunny and warm Florida. 🙂

I always want to say that. Too bad Canada is somewhat cold 11 months out of the year. Hehehe.

Before I go into today’s plans, a few little tidbits about yesterday:

  • Our rental car is yellow.
  • Couple’s Retreat is okay. Not great, but not crap either. The movie theater was freezing. Yes, coming from me that means something.
  • Three drawers for clothes is not enough clothes space when you’re two adults traveling for seven days.
  • Three drawers for clothes is not enough clothes space when you’re traveling with Lovely Wife
  • Three drawers for clothes is not enough clothes space when you’re LovelyWife
  • All those clothes and she forgot camisoles.
  • I forgot my sunglasses and books. The day at the beach is gonna suck.

All right, coffee’s brewed and I gotta hit the shower. Today we’re hitting Epcot Center. See you soon!

*Note: Because of the crappiest data plan in the whole universe I will not be carrying my Blackberry with me. If you want to get in touch with me, email is the best way. I’ll try to steal some WiFi where ever I can. See you soon!

You asked for it! (or you will!)

FAIL!

Some people commented that I had failed them by not recaping Avitable’s Neverwas Fair. So here’s an actual recap of my Orlando Extravaganza. Enjoy!

My Orlando trip started on the Tuesday, but the interesting part started Friday around noon. That’s when my conference was over and I drove to the Hilton in Altamonte Springs to check-in and hopefully meet bloggers!

I did not have to wait very long.

I got to the Hotel around 14:00, and was allowed to check-in immediatly. The Hilton rocks. I took about 30 minutes to settle in, and then my plan was to head down to start hunting / gathering for food. My morning eggs & coffee were a distant memory. I figured I would call Avitable to ask him what was going on with other bloggers.

“Hi, is this the famous Adam Avitable?” I asked, trying not to sound too much like a schoolgirl in awe. I guess it works, since we had a short but pleasant conversation, where I was told that Poppy and Dawg were already at the hotel (I knew through Twitter) and I was given Poppy‘s cell phone number to text her.

As an aside, I’m not much of a texter, but I was not going to pass the chance to text the Poppy. Thankfully the rule is not “Don’t text the Poppy“. So I did, and did not get an answer. 😦

I decided to proceed to the lobby anyways, and look for food on my own. That’s where I discovered that Vulkon 2008 was also at the Hilton. Wearing my t-shirt that reads “My other T-Shirts are funnier”, I was identified as a Trekkie (which I am, to a certain degree) and I was asked a lot of questions about the convention, which I knew nothing about.

And then I saw them. My first 3-D bloggers. Right in front of me were standing Mr. Fab and Turnbaby. They started walking away torwards the elevator. I ran behind them and said “Excuse me fine bloggers”. I’m such a geek. They turned around, I introduced myself and Fab said: “I’m gonna need to see the other t-shirts”. 😉 We chatted for a bit, they told me not to eat at the hotel. They were tired from their flight and retired for a nap.

I was a little stumped, I did not know where to go for food, so I asked the reception. As I’m going back up for my keys, Poppy and Dawg stepped out of the elevator. I shook Dawg’s paw and hugged the Poppy. To hell with the rules! Dawg was heading out for a make-out session, so we stood outside for about an hour chatting about all and nothing. It was great. Other bloggers arrived and joined us outside. Pretty soon PocketCT, Crystal, Poppy, Dawg and me moved the party inside to the Lobby Bar. We were joined by Mr. Fab and Turnbaby and ordered drinks. Sheila (Charm School Reject), Becky and Janelle arrived. Janelle recognized Dawg and the girls all checked-in and then joined us for more drinks.

A word on the drinks: It was very hard to get a decent drink. You’d think they’d mess up Mr. Fab girly vodka raspberry drinks, but no, it’s the Margaritas and Bourbons that were hard to get.

After a few rounds, Delmer arrived and quickly proceeded to play beer catch up. I’m telling you, that man can down a beer like the best of Canadians! Karl and his beard wandered in and were added to the group. We took the shuttle to Bahama Breeze, where we had more cocktails, beers and also food. Mr. Fab was dressed like one of the waiters, and walked around asking people how their meal was. It was hilarious. We left before getting kicked out. 😉

We couldn’t find a karaoke bar, so we headed back to the Lobby Bar. With Marcus on duty, drinks were a lot better. We proceeded to make our own karaoke – no music – to the amazement of all the costumed trekkies. Overheard: Did you know it was Sweet Caroline before the chorus? No! Me neither”. We had fun. I was asked a lot of questions about Canada, which I answered by making up as much stuff as I could get away with. It was a blast and it became a theme of the weekend. Adam even joined us around 1:00. Eventually Sarah made it safely to the hotel, and the crew was complete. We called it a night around 2:00.

Party day!

Saturday was more mellow. After my little flight incident, I had breakfast at the buffet – impromptu Cereal Wednesday! – with Poppy, Dawg and Karl, we went our separate ways. Some of us had to shop for costume parts or costumes, and Karl and myself went to Adam‘s house to help him with some finishing touches to his setup. Meeting Adam and Amy was very cool, he’s a very very nice guy, if a little on the control freak side (like me!), and she is the greatest hostess ever. Well except for the part where she did not recognize me at the party, but I shaved my hair and was covered in white and black make-up at the time. Spending those couple of hours just decorating and chatting was very pleasant, plus I got a sneak peak at all the props! We went back to the Bahama Breeze for a late lunch where we met the rest of the gang, minus Mr. Fab and Turnbaby. Dave2 walked in, looking for Geeky Tai-Tai. After lunch we met Poppy and Dawg at the movie theater for Zack and Miri make a porno. We then went back to the hotel and got in costume.

The Neverwas Fair

We took the shuttle from the hotel to Adam‘s place. The house looked even better at night! I won’t recap the party much, because there’s so many pictures floating on-line that it would be more of the same, but it was a kick-ass party. Some of the highlights of my party was:

– Some people knew of me or of my blog. I did not expect that.
Britt is so funny! I sorta knew that, but it still was a highlight. However, her karaoke performances are etched in my brain forever. 😉 She was so sweet she gave a shout out to her friends from Canadia! Awesome!
Crystal is one of the sweetest people in the world.
– Everyone was very nice (if a little tipsy) and almost no one made fun of my accent.
– I managed to acquire a stalker. But she’s a professed stalker, so that doesn’t scare me nearly as much. Right?
– I was in all kinds of pictures.
– I know what’s a Delmer look like.
– I got a lift from Dave2!

Things I regret a bit:
– I didn’t do karaoke, but I think I should have. Next time.
– I didn’t do Jager with Dave2. Darn! How could I forget that.
– I didn’t talk enough with Hilly, Geeky Tai-Tai, Hello Haha Narf and Britt. I was a little shy. 😉
– I only met Certifiable Princess while making the goodbye round. I really enjoy reading her blog.

All in all, it was a blast. I know it’s been said before, but it’s really true.

Sunday

I got up at 7:00 and packed my gear. I relaxed a bit, updated my blogroll, added people to my twitter and wrote a few canned posts for my returning trip and yesterday’s Vulkon 2008 recap. Breakfast with Poppy and Slightly Hungover Dawg, goodbye kisses and hugs to them plus Karl, Sybil and PocketCT. I missed Crystal as she ran through the lobby to catch her cab.

A short drive later I was at the airport, waiting to board the plane, writing this actual recap. I landed around 20h00, it was 4C and I was hungry since Poppy had taken all the bacon at the buffet. My friends Peter and John picked me up, and I had a burger, salad and a Guiness before getting home to talk Lovely Wife’s ear off about my amazing week-end. I tried to keep it down a little, you know so as not to act like I was rubbing it in, but I think she knew I had a good time.

Ask Canadia’s Blogger!

Inspired by recent events, Canadia’s Blogger (hey, look at my nice banner, complete with Canadian white-out!) will answer any and all questions about Canada. You only have to make your question in the from of “Do you have [this] in Canada?”. I’m hoping I can make this a weekly event. You know you want to ask me something, right? Well go ahead!

incanada

I’ll try to make it easy for you to ask me a question by putting up a special Canada page. In the meantime – read if I can’t finish this tonight – send me an e-mail at LeSombre at gmail dot com.

Some example of questions I am fully qualified to answer:

Q: Do you have white-out in Canada?
A: I use some in my banner!

Q: Do you have Twitter in Canada?
A: They activate Canadian accounts when we cross the border between Canada and the States.

Don’t be shy! I wont bite. Will you?

Orlando is a Bust (Seriously)

This is a post about my Educause 2008 experience.

I’m certain that Avitable’s party will flip the trip back to “worth it”.

Caveat: I’m not really paying to come here. It’s all covered by my job. I still get paid to be here regardless of what I can take out of the experience, and it’s a well known fact that I like to complain (or is it?). The cost to send me here is around the 1,700$ mark, including plane tickets and hotel.

Caveat 2: As usual, just spending time outside of the office context with the Chief is worth it.

I can’t believe what I’m getting for the money I am (see Caveat) paying to be here.

Let’s start with the mundane stuff, shall we?

Food & Refreshments: Oh my frakin’ Lord. WTF is wrong with these people? First of all, the refreshment breaks are way too long, and not accessible enough. When we get to the refreshment area, we’re herded – moo! – along the sides of the walls in a neverending queue. Then when you get to the refreshment station, you can grab piss-poor coffee, tea, soft drinks, little cakes or apples. Thankfully they offer apples, but it takes 45 minutes to get to the stations, and the break lasts 5 minutes. FAIL. And the food? Let’s start by saying they don’t provide breakfast or dinner, the only provide lunch. I’m paying 700$ for a conference and you don’t provide breakfast and dinner? The Blackboard World conference I went to had breakfast, lunch, dinner and two breaks included in that price, plus the welcoming ceremony and the client appreciation party – with open bar. It lasted 4 days. For the same money at your two and a half day conference I got bad coffee twice a day, and two lunch boxes (pictures below). Seriously, WTF? Seriously!

lunch

If you are wondering if this is Wednesday or Thursday s lunch, no worries: it was the same thing both days.

Conference Center: What in the world were you thinking when you decided to spread the rooms this far apart? It takes 20 minutes to walk from one session to the other! Seriously!

Conference schedule: Who decided to have two sessions in the morning, with a 100 minutes break in between them? How about having 4 sessions in the morning, so instead of having to choose 2 sessions out of 100, I could choose 4 sessions out of 100, 8 since I’m here with the Chief? That would be too easy I think. And who needs two hours to eat a frakin’ sandwich, even a half frozen one? Seriously!

Program: Speaking of easy, how about putting actual descriptions of what’s going on on the session in your program, instead of putting all kinds of really nice description that fits with what I’m doing on a daily basis, so I wouldn’t have to discover that when you write “Integrating software X with software Y” it really means that the speaker will address such issues as integrating software X with software Y, instead of telling us how he came to decide that software Y’s retail box will have the name of the product in red instead of the classic blue. Seriously!

I could go on about the speakers, but I’d probably have o kill myself. You think I’m kidding.

Today’s my last half day of conference. Hopefully I can tag-along with Dawg, Karl and Poppy to go see Zack & Miri make a porno in the afternoon. If not, I’m sure I can find a way to make up for my crappy Orlando conference.

Mark my word Internets: I will only go back to these things when I’m presenting something. And I think that gives me the right to call bullsh*t on this conference.

Edit: Corrected a few typos. In my defence; I was pretty drunk at the time you honor. 😉