Twice a year we face "Convention Season." I doubt this would make an interesting documentary, such as Bee Season, but it defines work schedules, deadlines and Yahoo Travel's bottom line.
Every October I attend the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, as an exhibitor, along with my boss and other colleagues. Our goal at this NAB of Surgery, if you will, is to exhibit our medical education products, to network with clients, future clients and to support the AV needs of still other clients.
Every 3 years this meeting is in either San Francisco, Chicago or New Orleans.
I have a favorite activity in each of these three cities:
San Francisco - discover new restaurants.
Chicago - Discover new restaurants
New Orleans - Discover new restaurants
In San Fran, I usually head to the North Beach section, which has some great Italian restaurants. However right around the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square there are a few good restaurants as well.
In Chicago, I try to go to McCormick and Schmick's for seafood. Granted there are branches elsewhere. Nearly any place in town is good. The last time there we tried brazilian and Greek food.
In New Orleans we usually head for the French Quarter, however even before Katrina as well as now, there are some seedy streets just off the main drag. One must be cautious. The last time there, we discovered a decent seafood place right near our Loew's hotel, and we also visited Emeril's restaurant, which was a fantastic meal. At this restaurant, regardless of how many people are in your party, they have enough servers come to your table so everyone is served at the same moment. Nice touch.
One year, 1998, the convention was in Orlando. The Orlando Convention Center, on I-Drive, is much like all convention centers - sprawling and isolated from civilization. This one is especially so - you have to take the chartered convention bus to get there. The hotels booked for the attendees were all on the Disney property. While the hotels are nice, they too are isolated. For example, if one is staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort, and one has a shoot at the Dolphin hotel convention center, and there are no cabs around, one has to take the Disney bus to MGM studios, then take a water taxi to the Boardwalk hotel, then walk to the Dolphin. I could be mistaken, but it was a hassle. i took a taxi back.
This year is San Fran, so good times to come.
As of this writing we are approaching the Spring Conference season. First up is the SAGES (society of american gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgeons) in Philadelphia. I know there are some good eateries surrounding Rittenhous Square. The next week I'm off to Toronto for the Association of Program Directors in Surgery. I have only spent 2 nights in Toronto previously so this will be like the first time there.
All of these trips except Philly guarantee hours sitting in airports, airplanes and hotels. I have blogged about the enjoyment of all three experiences, and I try to ignore these aspects of travel. My sweet Dell Vostro laptop allows me to work or watch movies in any or all of these situations.
Philadelphia will be my first foray into train travel. I have taken the choo choo into New York a few times, but usually I drive to Philadelphia. During the week in question, I need to go on a Monday, have a day of meetings on Tuesday, come home, then return on Thursday until Saturday evening. I'll let you know how it goes.
The final mode of transport is of course the car. Much of my work is in New York, Boston and of course Connecticut. The best thing that ever happened as far as car travel is the iPod. Any MP3 player will do, and I have previously used the MiniDisc and a USB memory stick music player. but the iPod in my case makes a 2-4 hour solo car trip so much more enjoyable. Note to Apple's developers - please invent some sort of thought controlled iPod navigation - trying to use the thumb wheel while driving is actually more dangerous than using a phone. I know modern cars now have voice activated iPod navigation, but most people do not have new cars.
Well, I have to go burn 26 CDs to mail out Monday, so I can drive up to Burlington, MA for a few fun filled days of production.
PS - if you spend a lot of time listening to your music player, either in the car, plane, jogging track or at work, here are some of my favorite podcasts you may find interesting:
Hardcore History - the host, Dan Carlin, while slightly annoying to listen to for long periods of time, speaks with a passion about historical events.
Common Sense - also with Dan Carlin. In this show the gloves come off and he espouses his centrist political views. I can take about 10 minutes at a time.
Creative Screenwriting Magazine - the editor Jeff Goldsmith interviews the writers of the latest independent and mainstream films. Makes me want to dust off my half-written screenplay and get writing again.
Harvard Business Review podcasts - The title sounds synonymous with the Watching Paint Dry podcast, but there are some interesting topics, especially those featuring interviews with or lectures by entrepreneurs in the technology industries.
Physics for Future Presidents - basically an entire semester of lectures by UC Berkeley professor Richard A Muller - the professor puts complex concepts into terms even a President could understand (pick a President if you like). I have sampled many recorded lectures from Berkeley, MIT and Stanford. Many are poorly recorded and not edited for content, so you get lots of silence as the professor is trying to get his PowerPoint slides to work. but this one is fantastic.
Ok, now I'm done. Thanks for reading.