Thursday morning I left Burbank soil and touched down left of the bay. I arrived early at the Bob Hope United terminal expecting long lines due to recent travel regulations â€“ and the fact that I had to check a 60 pound blue metal cube (which I’m told didn’t always have rollers on the bottom). I had parked at the tip end of parking lot A, directly under the control tower which my plane would coincidentally drive by before taking off. Check-in took all of fifteen minutes. This left me with two hours of watching The View in HD, possibly the longest part of the trip.
Upon touching down at SFO I proceeded through the long corridor to the baggage claim area. A normal airport would have filled this space with ads. Instead SFO features a variety of very well laid out x-ray photographs of marine life, marine life skeletons, “of the sea” artwork, and real dead sea animals in large glass jars. I had to actually stop and stare a few times. Being San Francisco there were also quite a lot of good looking Asian women around. I had to actually stop and stare a few times.
Once I reached baggage claim and watched everyone else claim their luggage and not seeing my cube anywhere I waited twenty minutes in the service line to find out that my cube had been misplaced 100 feet to the left of us at claim area 3 (it was supposed to be at 4). From there I rendezvoused with Aldo (one of our advertising partners) and Dan (president of our educational services division). We rode the BART to Powell Street and rode the escalators up to Powell and Market. From there we proceeded directly to the Moscone center (across from the Metreon) to set up our booth. Once done we went to the Daily Grill for vittles. Pooped from traveling we decided to end the night at our room at the Marriott by watching the Da Vinci Code “on demand.” An hour into the movie it suddenly shut off. Room service couldn’t do anything except offer to let us start it over for free. Since it was already 10pm and the movie is three hours long we opted not toâ€¦ so I STILL haven’t seen the DaVinci Code.
The convention was admittedly slow and got slower each day so I won’t do much describing of the events in the convention hall, but simply skip to the evening activities. It was a typical convention with booths large and small, overpriced junk food, and lots of standing around waiting. I knew a little more about what we do (okay a lot more) this time, so I didn’t feel like such a fish out of water when I was asked a technical question (compared to the 2005 Anaheim CDA). I did notice a large amount of northern California dentists, hygienists, and assistants are moderately attractive Asian women though (albeit most of them five to ten years too old for me).
Friday night our group (Dan division president, Steve division president, and Diana â€“ manager of a partner company) went to The View Lounge at the top of the Marriott. The lounge is famous for having all glass walls on the north and south sides of the bar â€“ which give you a spectacular view of the city. $74 worth of drinks later (of which I only accounted for a $5 sparkling water) we were ready to head a few blocks north to La Scala Italian Bistro. From there we took a slow walk back to Diana’s hotel (the W) and had more drinks (of which I had an orange juice) at the XYZ bar over a rousing conversation of the positives and negatives of past drug usage and romantic relationships
Saturday night I was able to ring up my friend Aaron from Ohio State art college. He is now living in San Francisco working on a masters in sculpture at the San Francisco Academy of Art. Yes, this is the same Aaron that showed me around the last time I was in town (February 2005). We headed to little Italy and ate at Figaro restaurant. It was about a 20 block walk from the hotel. I had a “Caramel Pyramid” for desert. From there we walked about ten more blocks to Aaron’s apartment. The apartment building was old (as is most of the non-business area of the city), built shortly after the 1906 fire. Aaron actually lives in apartment number 666. I took a photo for proof. While there he showed me a room the size of a walk in closet that they were renting out for $500 a month. We then walked four flights up the outside stairs to a spectacular dusk view. From his back porch he can see straight ahead to Alcatraz and all the way north to Lombard Street, with the Golden Gate arcing through the middle.
Next was a trip up to Coit tower, which was only a few blocks south (although up hill all the way). On the way we passed a long black Cadillac. On the way back from Coit tower we passed the same Cadillac and had a conversation with the owner when he saw me photographing it and offered to sell it to me for $5,000. The car is a 70s black Cadillac that had to be at least 22 feet long. The kind of car you’d expect to see Robert Plant come out of before a show at Madison Square Garden.
Then it was getting late and it was time for my 60 minute 30 block walk back to the hotel.
The show ended (officially) at 2pm on Sunday, but by 2:10 Steve and I were already on the BART to SFO. We were able to get an earlier flight out and I was home by 6:30. On the plane back we had to be diverted because of the ongoing forest fire in Castaic. The fire was visible from the air; it was quite a site and reminded me of the aerial shots of atomic bombs.
My car was covered in sludge. No doubt runway dirt blown up by jet engines and spat through the wet air in the early morning hours. Nasty stuff.
After cleaning up a bit, checking email, and tallying up my credit card receipts (over $220 that I’ll have to seek reimbursement for) I received a call from the other Aaron. If I came over “right now” I could have six cases of Fuze drinks. I high-tailed it a mile across the valley and made off with no less than ten cases â€“ that is 120 bottles if you’re counting!
Sadly â€“ I missed the entire OSU vs. UC game Saturday, but, judging by the score, the buckeyes didn’t need my cheers anyway. Notre Dame could have used them â€“ but (for once in my life) I would have been rooting for Michigan.
For photos of all this and more click here and download the zip file.