Last week I took my first Dealnews work trip to the Velocity conference in San Jose. I'd last visited California (San Francisco) around 2002 on a work trip to a biotech conference, which was really just an excuse to meet a bunch of people at Stanford that I'd been working with/doing their bidding. This time, I was actually going for the conference.
The conference was focused on Dev Ops. I know marginally more about Dev Ops than I did before the conference, but that's mainly because I don't know how to attend a conference. I've spent most of my career pigeonholed into making web pages/applications and I'm slow to learn. Delving into the world of Dev Ops with people that know Dev Ops didn't help me much.
This is the first conference I've been to that dealt with anything close to what I actually use. I actually learned a little - there was a panel on web browser debugging tools that I enjoyed - but my method of retention doesn't line up with conference presentations. But now I know that, and the next time a conference opportunity comes up I'll most likely opt for some online training instead.
The trip itself was nicer than I anticipated. I upgraded my flights to first class and got a good deal ($141 above what work paid for). The Santa Clara Hyatt, which is joined to the convention center that hosted the conference, was quite nice. The weather... ahh, it was great. Mid 60's in the morning, perfect for walking. There were a couple of sandwich places within ½ mile of the hotel (I didn't bother with a car while I was there). Traffic actually pays attention to pedestrian crosswalks, so it seems very pedestrian friendly. My flight anxiety was once again present for no reason - all my flights were fairly smooth and most arrived early.
Now for some obligatory pictures:
The Cali hat pic from the San Jose airport led me to create my first ever meme pic (or whatever the kids call them), as I had LL Cool J running through my head afterward.
I'm over the dreaded pinkeye, although I think I may be more susceptible to
general allergy problems that come with living in North Alabama. Sinuses. Damnable sinuses
just won't clear all the way up.
In a couple of days I leave for my first honest to god programming conference. I've been to 2 work conferences which had nothing to do with programming, along with my trip to Canada for some 3D game engine programming that I don't think I ever really used. This is a trip to San Jose which will hopefully be more beneficial as I've already got an itinerary of tutorials and talks that I got to pick to go see.
As a bonus, I caught a good deal on upgrading my flight to First Class - only cost me an extra $141. I'm pretty sure that's going to be worth it.
The next couple of days will be spent doing the little things required when leaving for a week. Normally I wouldn't fret too much, but this is a work trip where I'll basically be in a large hotel the whole time (not renting a car, although I can always grab a taxi). I can always track down a Wal Mart if I forget something. it'll just be much more inconvenient to do so on this trip.
My eye phobia is both well known and well documented. As such, what's the worse malady I could catch?
When's the worse time to catch it?
The Sunday before a holiday Monday, when seemingly all medical care offices save the emergency room are closed until Tuesday.
I'd been battling sinus problems for the better part of 2 weeks. From what I could tell I didn't have an infection brewing - Gina's taught me how to analyze colors of things best not detailed, regardless of the picture posted at the top of all of this. I switched from Sudafed to Mucinex and started to feel better. The Mucinex was working well! A little too well, as the consensus is that the Mucinex opened up my sinuses so much they decided to open paths to my eyes. When I can feel something through my tear duct as I look up into the shower, stuff is opened up!
Sunday while power washing the back porch I had a flurry of stinging in my eyes as sweat reached said eyes, except it wasn't completely sweat. What can best be safely dscribed as goop was also in my eyes. The goop would keep churning out, which irritated my eyes on top of causing me to rub them. I didn't know it yet but welcome to Pinkeye Day 0!
Gina quickly decided I had Pinkeye, but there wasn't much I could do about it before going to the doctor. As such, I suffered through Memorial Day with lots of crusty/itchy eyed washcloths eye dropper lubracant moments. At this point I feel sorry for kids (which never happens for me). I knew what was going on and still had a hard time not pulling my eyes out. For a kid that doesn't really grasp what's going on along with scratching at it doesn't help a thing, it's got to be incredibly painful, annoying, and frustrating.
Tuesday comes and I'm at the doctor bright and early. He decides Gina's right, I do indeed have the Pinkeye. I get a cortisone shot in the butt, some antibiotic eye drops which he tells me to do my best in getting them in my eye, and finally a 10 day supply of oral antibiotics that will hopefully be the key of knocking this bad boy out. He doesn't tell me to avoid people, but I know the bare minimum about Pinkeye to know it's highly contagious and that I should quarantine myself. After getting my prescriptions filled I try my best to stay home the rest of the week - luckily work allows for me to do that!
After 2 days I started to feel better. Better as in "getting better", not cured. My eyes were still red, but the icky factor had lessened. After another 2 days my eyes looked relatively normal, but I would still get a little stinging/itchy feeling roughly 5 hours after squirting in the eye drops that I was scheduled to squirt every 6 hours.
After a week of this, I finally went back into the office. I was supposed to be non-contagious after 3 days of antibiotics so waiting 7 days should be ok. Still, people took a step back when they heard I'd been out for Pinkeye. Honestly, I don't blame them.
I still have 3 days of antibiotics left, but I now consider myself a Pinkeye Survivor. I don't know if I get a special ribbon to wear or anything. There might be a form to fill out, I'll have to double check.
After the Pentatonix concert, I traveled back to Nashville the following week as Matt and I went to see Kevin Smith at Zanies.
I find it a little ironic that for a homebody like me I end up going to 2 events in Nashville over the course of 2 weeks. Kevin Smith's Q&A was going to keep me out longer on a work-night than I'm used to, but Kevin is one of those go-to-see people on my bucket list. He ends up in Nashville once per year, which I found out last year right after his tickets sold out. This year I was on the ball, and coerced Matt to go/drive. Matt went to Vandy so he's used to Nashville traffic. Post-wreck Russ still gets a little skittish in large mobs of cars in conjunction with not really knowing where I'm going.
Matt, along with Dr Blondie, is a big fan of Chuys. While I'm not the go-to for Mexican food like most people I know, I've come to enjoy it more than I used to. Lately I've been trying fish/shrimp tacos, and on my last visit with Dr Blondie I found that I liked Chuys' shrimp tacos. Matt and I had a couple of choices for dinner, but traffic helped steer us to Chuys.
After dinner we had a little time to kill so we walked around the block (or maybe a couple of blocks). I enjoy people watching, and there was quite the diverse crowd to watch milling about in midtown Nashville. The highlight of my little walking trip, not counting the heavily tattooed tight clothed women fold walking about, was a beautifully painted Prince motorcycle. I don't know if it was a paint job in memorial of Prince's death or if it was just a long time fan, but the paint job was nice.
Most trips to Nashville involve as stopover at Frugal MacDoogle. Matt needed liqour, so such a stop was required. Though not a drinker, I enjoy looking at the artistry of the bottles. Over in the "ale" section they had a 4-pack of Vulcan Ale which seems to be a Star Trek licensed beer. That shouldn't amaze me, but it does.
Finally we ended up at Zanies to watch Kevin Smith. I didn't really know what to expect going in. I thought it would be a little Q&A session that might go about 2 hours. Once Kevin started he talked about his Dad coming to Nashville and loving it years ago, then he started the Q&A. He looked at his phone and said "It's 9:21 now. We're going to go to about midnight." Lot's of hoots, hollers, and cheers. He ended up going until roughly 12:30. That man can talk. Like he said in the beginning, "You may think that everybody gets to ask a question, but we'll really only get a few. A little Q, a whoooole lotta A." I think he answered 7 questions by the end of the night.
Most of what he talked about I'd heard before through years of listening to his podcasts and other Q&As. Kevin has stories he tells the same, I think that's just something he has to do with the way he does his Q&As. Questions about his newer projects (Yoga Hosers and Moosejaws) I hadn't heard as many details previously. There was at least 1 backstory I was telling Matt on the way to the show that came up when Kevin was telling his stories, and I felt good that I stayed pretty true to what I had originally heard.
I enjoyed the show. At the end I was ready to come home (I got to bed at 2:45AM). Now I've seen Kevin, and I'd probably go see him again if I don't have to go to work the next day.
I've been quiet for the better part of a month. As such, it's time to play catch-up.
Last week I journeyed to Nashville and saw Pentatonix with Dr Blondie. I haven't been to a concert since Prince (and that's likely been 10 years), mush less a mostly acapella concert. There were 3 acts - the opener was a 17 year old kid. He had a real name, but that's the part I remember. The next group was Us the Duo, a husband and wife team. Lastly was PTX themselves.
I don't know why I found this the most interesting, but for each performer before each song they would say "the name of this song is __________, and it's about ___________." I have no idea why that stuck out in my head, except it felt like the way I was taught to write a paper in high school - minimum of 5 paragraphs; 1st paragraph into saying what you're going to say, 3 paragraphs of content, last paragraph summarizing what you said; a paragraph has 4 sentences - 1st sentence says what you're going to say, minimum 2 sentences of content, final sentence summarizes what you said. I haven't written that kind of paper in 30 years and yet those instructions have stayed with me.
Work office wall decoration continues, especially since we're getting ever closer to moving since our lease extension is nearing an end. The Nick Fury poster on the right I've had since the early 90's. I bought it from the Tattooed Lady Comics, which was the only place I could find it (in the days before the internet). It had been thumb-tacked up on walls a couple of times before I got it, and I may have added a couple of holes afterward. Overall it's held up well for 20+ years.
Underneath those 2 posters are pages from a Star Wars picture-a-day calendar Gina got me for Christmas. There was a 2-week run of retro styled vacation destination pictures which I thought looked pretty cool. I've seen some of them for sale as posters, but I already had these pictures in calendar form! Thanks to Hobby Lobby's sale schedule for frames and mat board I was able to whip up a passable display (just don't look too close, you know how I am with straight lines).
In the mid-90's, while going to Athens State, I discovered a Taco Bell kids meal was a perfect snack for a college kid. Even better, they had Tick toys packaged in with the food, and I loved me some Tick. The above has been on favored work desks off and on ever since. Yet another thing that I don't know how or why I've kept up with for 20 years, but now my little spinning Tick keeps me company while he guards my monitors from evil.
As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).
Tags have been added to posts back to 2005. There may be an occasional old blog that gets added to the tag list, but in reality what could be noteworthy from that far back?
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