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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

1st Day In San Francisco - MAAWG

First, I forgot to mention what happened to my Vaio laptop - the one that crashed to the floor. System recovery and the recovery CDs I had didn't work, so I took it to my friend's shop, Upsurf.net in town. He took a look at it, tried some tests and sadly informed me the hard drive was toast. Since this Vaio is one of the "slim" ones that weighs less than three pounds, he had to order a hard drive for it, so I'm using my old, heavier (6 pounds) Vaio. Man, I've been spoiled by my smaller Vaio!

Flew into San Francisco yesterday via Detroit. In Detroit, the flight was delayed a bit due to rain and wind in SF, but we finally got on the plane, then had to wait on the runway for takeoff. I'd forgotten how long this flight was - 5 hours. It was a full flight and although I had an aisle seat and neck pillow, the woman in the middle seat (in her 70s or so) took control of the armrests on both sides of her and it was an uncomfortable flight. In addition, her lunch fork went under her seat and she caused a ruckus getting that. I am a patient person, but she was trying my patience. Oy. I don't know what's scarier, a woman her age reading bodice-ripping romance novels or old men ogling teen girls on the plane.

Got to SF and waited for the shuttle to the hotel. Got in and Chris calls - he has his son this week for school vacation and wanted to watch a slasher flick called The Devil's Rejects with him, which was "on demand" on our cable service. We had checked to make sure it was available before I left and now he couldn't find it. I was sitting in the front of the shuttle van with the driver and calmly told Chris it was under Thrillers on Demand, then Horror Movies, then under the "T's" for "The" instead of the "D's". He was pretty much freaking out, claiming he couldn't find any "on Demand stations except the Movies on Demand. I told him to start at Channel 02 and work backwards, where the demand channels were. He was insisting he couldn't find it. I was exasperated and told him I don't know what he expected me to do here in california, to take a deep breath and start over again, or go online at twc.com and see what channel Thrillers on Demand was.

I hung up and asked the driver if he wanted my husband. He laughed. I reached over to put the phone in my bag and hit a man's knee. I had NO clue anyone else was in the van.

Chris texted me "You should have told me it was Thrillers on Demand"

I texted back "You bastard"

I got an "LOL" back

I don't know how this man is going to survive without me until Friday night, ha ha.

When the driver dropped this other passenger off, I told him I didn't know he had another customer. He got a good laugh out of that and told me I'd made his day.

The hotel is amazing! Older, on "snob" hill in SF, the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental was opened in 1926 and keeps its old glory along with modern conveniences. Yikes, sounds like a sales pitch, but it's an amazing place. Since I have a Priority Club rewards card, I got upgraded to a deluxe corner suite which overlooks California Street with views of the bay, the trolley cars and more. The room is HUGE - long hallway, two huge closets, bathrobes, a big bathroom, king sized bed, private bar (haven't seen one of those in a hotel room in ages) and more. I called Chris and he told his son he could have been with me in SF. I told him to stop making M feel bad. Besides, Chris has NEVER flown in a plane and has so far refused to do so.

Took a shower and changed to get ready for a dinner hosted by Bizanga.com at 1 Fort Mason at the former military base, the Presidio. Cloudmark sponsored the pre-dinner cocktail hour in the old officer's lounge. I was with the MAAWG executive Director Jerry Upton and his wife. Both are a hoot!

As we walked into the officer's club, everyone was handed a glass of champagne infused with tea. We sat and chatted for a while, then went into the dining room for a six course meal with wine pairings. The food was prepared on site by COI Restaurant, which was awarded two Michelin stars.

I had a blast! I got to meet Neil Schwartzmann, who I interviewed for both my Net Crimes books. He's a sweetheart and funny! I also met people I'd only emailed, Chris and Gretchen from Time Warner and met all sorts of new people from ISPs my organization, WHOA deals with, as well as Symantec, Tucows, and more.

The food was excellent, all the wines were good (except for one white wine I wasn't crazy about) and the company was amazing and fun to be with.

By the time dinner was done, it was midnight (3 am my time), and I was ex-haus-ted. I took the first bus back to the hotel and pretty much crashed.

This morning got up to the clang, clang, clang of the trolley at 6:30 am, hit the fitness center, then went for breakfast and to register for the conference.

Today is a light day - I'll attend a few sessions, have lunch, then take a nap before the big "social" tonight.

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