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Sunday, February 01, 2009

St. Louis Cold. Cyber Crime Conference Fun.

On Wednesday flew from Norfolk to St. Louis on American Airlines. What's wrong with this picture? (taken on the plane)



Got to St. Louis fine, shuttled to the hotel, checked in, then went downstairs to register as a speaker at the DoD Cyber Crime Conference and give my "mom" her taffy. She's the coolest. Got my bag with goodies inside, then went to see Jay, who books me for the conference every year, gave him his taffy, saw his wife Dawn, then saw my "boyfriend" Alex, Amy, Jim, Jim Christie and Bill, the guy who booked my travel. It was like old home week. I asked them what was up for dinner, they said we'd go to the hotel bar at 530 or so. This gave me enough time to go to my room, shower and change and unpack and unwind a bit.

We went to the bar at around 6 pm and a bunch of us took up a few tables, ordered drinks and dinner and began to catch up on things and joke around. It was like being with family, but more fun, haha.

This photo shows "mom" in the gray sweatshirt and her daughter Tasha (who to me looks like the actress Aisha Tyler).



This one shows Alex (center), Dani (the girl) and I can't remember the name of the guy with the dreads


This is Jay and his wife Dawn, who looks like Jennifer Garner, although you can't tell as well from this photo.


I didn't have to speak until 1230 on Thursday, so I worked out in the fitness room, had breakfast, then showered and dressed and spent my time in the speaker room before my talk. I had about 60 or so in my audience and seemed to get a good reaction. I'd only brought a dozen books to sell and set up a table by the registration desk. I finished my talk at 130 pm and by 330 pm all the books were gone.

I went up to my room to rest my feet, which were aching and talked with Chris, relaxed some more, then changed and went back downstairs to hang out. We headed to the bar again for dinner and drinks and even had a shot for Jay's birthday.

We noticed a woman reading my book at the bar. It's the first time I've seen someone actually reading my book in public:



How cool! After that, everyone was going to continue drinking, but it was bedtime for me, LOL. I hear they went to bed quite late that night.

The next morning was the closing ceremony with a game of "Data" Jeopardy (all tech/internet questions) and the video of events from the week of the conference. I love this part of the conference! It was great and I had a good time. I worked out again in the fitness room, had a leisurely breakfast, then went to say good-bye to everyone so that I could pack and head to the airport.

My flight was scheduled to leave at 330 pm, so I got there in plenty of time. But at around 3 pm, the Continental gate attendant had those of us with connecting flights to come to the desk. It turned out the inbound plane was late and we wouldn't make our connections in Cleveland. The best they could do for me was put me on United for Chicago, layover there for two hours, then be in Manchester by 10:50 pm, two hours later than I'd planned.

Chris wasn't happy, he really missed me. But at least I was coming home and not staying another night in St. Louis. He decided to meet some friends at our local hangout for karaoke night while he waited.

After finally getting my tickets from United a half hour before departing, I had to run back to Continental to make sure my one checked bag would make the plane. BTW, I didn't have to pay to check my bag on the American Airlines flight, but did for this one. Also, American didn't make me pay for my soda, nor did United. US Airways sucks.

Got on the plane, got to Chicago, had dinner (a ham pannin, yum) and a beer, then relaxed at the gate, talking with Chris while he was at the restaurant and some of our friends who kept telling me they wished I was there. So did I, haha!

On the plane I fell alseep and didn't wake up until we were descending into Manchester. Drove home and found Chris fast asleep on the couch. It was 1230 in the morning. Phoebe at first seemed to not realize it was me, but Bandit was wiggling as I hugged him. Gave them a treat, tried to wake up Chris to get him to bed, but he wasn't budging.

So I got a glass of wine, went to bed and tried to unwind. I ended up watching TV until 2am before finally falling asleep. Chris crawled in around 430 am and let me sleep until 1230 the next day. I was exhausted. Not to mention some college kid in the seat next to me was coughing and hacking. I made sure to take my Airborne.

So I'm home. Safe and sound. For a week. Then it's off again. Busy month this month.

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