October 10, 2017: SpiceWorld 2017

DuoLingo Streak: 38 Days

Two hours of sleep and awake, showered, packed, and dropped off at the Trinity Mills DART station so that I could catch the train downtown.  It is about a forty five minute ride from up this way.  But only $2.50 so there is really no way to beat it.  And it is comfortable.

I got to St. Paul and walked four blocks to the East Transfer Station where you pick up the MegaBus to San Antonio (which stops in Austin.)  I didn’t have long to wait, maybe half an hour.

The MegaBus, getting last minute, online tickets, is just $17 to get down to Austin.  Way cheaper than gas and driving.  It is just $20 total for the bus and the train to the bus, to get there.

The bus ride was fine.  So many people asked me how the wifi was, but there was no wifi on the bus.  They advertise that heavily, but there wasn’t anything.  But I had my cell phone so didn’t really care.

I was exhausted so did my best to basically nap on the drive, which I mostly did. I had my seat and the one next to me so it was comfortable enough.  The ride was super easy and we made amazing time arriving in Austin nearly an hour early.  The whole drive was barely over three hours.  Faster than I normally drive it.  The bus doesn’t need to stop for gas, so that is extra handy and saves a good percentage of the time of a trip of that length.

I got dropped off at 1500 San Jacinto, near the Texas State Capital, and walked to the Embassy Suites in SoCo.  That’s about twenty blocks.  The weather was great today, though.  Perfect for walking Austin.  And all that I had with me was my backpack, so walking was extra easy.

In front of the infamous garage

Tracy was waiting for me at the Embassy Suites.  He was pretty surprised when I arrived on foot, instead of in an Uber.  It really is not that long of a walk, though.  And such a nice day.

Austin Downtown Riverfront

The Embassy Suites in SoCo is really nice.  I’m sad that I won’t get time to hang out in it.  There is a huge atrium with restaurants, bars, a waterfall, and more.  Really nice.  The room was huge, too.  Room 422.  The suites have double views, one view from the bedroom out to Congress and the living room view into the atrium, which was actually the nicer view.

Tracy and Scott in Austin

I didn’t want to walk immediately back to the convention center and Tracy had some friends (from Dallas) meeting him at a bar basically right next door to the hotel, Zax, so I walked over there with him and had a couple of beers before heading to the convention center.

I got to SpiceWorld at the Austin Convention Center, got checked in, got my swag bag, and set off for a walk around the convention floor.  It was a short walk, as there were so many people to see.  So I made it about halfway around the room before just standing still and hanging out with people.

The convention feels about half full compared to previous years.  I know that many of our regular crew were unable to make it out this year, or had deprioritized the event, so we were very short of the “old guard” right off of the bat.  But the event itself felt very sparse, compared to what I am used to.

I did not hit any booths at all this year, but Dashrender made me swing over to Webroot and present a “secret” passphrase to get a super nice stainless steel growler.  Dominica is going to be happy with that, that will go great on the bar at home.

I hung around for the “happy hour” at the convention, then when that wound down and people were heading out to go to the official party, Tracy and I walked back to the hotel to drop off our bags and stuff from the convention and then headed straight to Manuel’s on Third to meet up with the Scale crew for dinner.

Collier and Scott at the Scale Dinner

We had a great time at dinner.  Great food and drinks.  Nice to get the small groups away from the main conference.  A chance to actually hang out.

The walk from the Embassy Suites to Sixth Street is more than double the walk that I am used to doing from the Hilton or the Hyatt Place.  Lots of exercise for me this year.  Even missing the early days, I am probably getting in more walking than usual.

Scott & Tank on Sixth by Touche

We got to Touche and were almost the first ones there.  Very small crowd as we got there super early while people were still having dinner.  We are full sponsored tonight by Strongarm.io, which is awesome.  All drinks are on the house.  Mitch, our bartender for about six of the last eight years, just started a new job last week and is doing the overnight shift there (he is in IT now) and could not make it out – which is a major shame both because we miss him and now because he is missing a major event for a major convention in his new field!  But new bartenders Hutch and Jo were there to take care of us.

We had a good turn out tonight, probably near record numbers.  The party is pretty legendary at this point.  It was a really good party.  We didn’t break, or attempt to break, any Flaming Doctor Pepper records.  It was just a good, solid party.

Shots with the Touche Crew

Tracy and I were, as custom dictates, the last ones to close down Sixth.  We got hidden in the back and got to hang after closing so it was around three when we finally set off to walk the long walk back to the hotel.  A long, blurry walk.  With pizza, of course.

As always, it was great seeing everyone.  This once a year reunion is just so much fun.  So sad that so many of our core group were unable to come this year.  The makeup of new to old has shifted more this year than in any previous year.  It was great, but not the same.  Very interesting how the people have shifted over time.

October 9, 2017: Stuck in Dallas

DuoLingo Streak: 37 Days

So exhausted today.  It’s been a tiring week and while I got a few hours of sleep last night, they were not the best and there is a lot to do today.  The original plan was for me to be on the 4:30PM bus out of Dallas going to Austin so that I could make it to the opening events at SpiceWorld tonight.  But by one in the afternoon it was clear that I was not going to be able to make that as my lunch meetings go pushed to this evening so I needed to stay around Dallas longer.

I was pretty tired today, so we did not do very much.  Got me packed up and ready to go to Austin, hung out with the family.  Then this evening we went to dinner with the team at Twin Peaks near the airport.  We were there till about midnight.  Then home and Dominica and I were up late discussing work and plans and such.  Not much sleep for me tonight.

The plan is for me to catch the early train out of Carrollton in the morning.  I’ll be lucky to get two hours of sleep.


October 8, 2017: Last Day in Phoenix

DuoLingo Streak: 36 Days

Sunday.  Our final day in Phoenix, Jeremy and I both fly out just after midnight.

We managed to get up this morning and get breakfast before getting a ride into the office.  Then it was a couple hours of work from there before everyone arrived for an afternoon of meetings.  Finally, we’ve been anxiously awaiting these.

We had a really good, but incredibly busy, afternoon.  We managed to get a lot of our questions and concerns ironed out.  Not all, but mostly.  More meetings needed over the next few days.

We had a team lunch today at a really awesome pastry and chaat restaurant.  Jeremy got to try a lot more new Indian cuisine.  He is definitely getting hooked.

In the early evening we went back to our hotel so that we could shower, pack, and relax before our flights this evening.  We moved from two of us flying, to four of us flying tonight, all about the same time.  Jeremy and I got to watch a few more episodes of La Hipocondriaca before shutting down to leave the hotel.

It has been a long ten days here in Phoenix.  We are ready to get home to our families.

We got a ride around ten over to the condo.  Met one new person while there for twenty minutes, had drinks, and were off to Skyharbor for our flights back home.

The Uber dropped Jeremy off first as he is flying the earlier American flight back to Rochester through Charlotte.  Anup, Sujit, and I are flying on the same Spirit flight from Phoenix to Dallas.

We would have been to our gate much earlier, but Anup forgot his laptop and Vijay had to run it up from the office.  But our flight was delayed an hour so we had loads of time, anyway.

Through check in and security in no time and off to the gate.  There is one bar still open there so we went there to eat.  We got veggie burgers and beers.

The flight home went well.  I had an aisle seat and managed to kind of zone and and rest for the flight.

Dominica and the girls picked all three of us up and I drove everyone to their apartment before going home and getting to bed.  It was around seven in the morning when we finally got to bed.

October 7, 2017: Introducing Jeremy to Telenovelas

DuoLingo Streak: 35 Days

Saturday.  I was up this morning around four, but managed to stay in bed until four thirty.  But after that, I was awake.  Jeremy got up around six thirty.  We were expecting things to start early this morning.  So we got up, showered and got all ready, had breakfast, coffee, and waiting for news of the plan to get into the office for the day.

We sat outside for a few hours pool side and worked from there until it got brighter and warmer, then came back up to the hotel room.  We had gone out when they started doing the room cleaning.

It was a long morning of just waiting around wondering what was going on and when our critical meetings are going to happen.  Our stress levels just get worse and worse as we sit around wondering what is going on.

We got into the office at about one.  It ended up being a very quiet day in the office with no additional info.  We worked until mid-evening and then went back to the hotel, worked there for just a tiny bit, but then decided to call it a day and I introduced Jeremy to the telenovela La Hipocondriaca to which he is now addicted.  We watched that until we fell asleep.

October 6, 2017: Alone in the Office

DuoLingo Streak: 34 Days

Friday.  I can’t believe that I have been out here in Arizona for an entire week already!  I am really missing the family.  Only the weekend left until I head for home in the wee hours of Monday morning.  I only get a very short time at home with the family, but at least I will see them a little.

I slept for nine hours last night, Jeremy slept for more than ten!  Apparently we have been getting worn out.  So I was up by six thirty and he was up around seven thirty.

At a quarter to eight we got breakfast in the hotel.  Our normal ride to the office was going to be late today, so we decided to work from the hotel for a bit this morning, as well.  Just made sense.  So we got a nice, slow start to the day.

At ten thirty Jeremy decided that he wanted to use the big, new monitor in the office so we packed up and walked in.  It is nearly two miles of walking in the Arizona heat.  It wasn’t too bad yet but an hour later it was going to be really hot, so we got moving right away.

We stopped at the gas station, got waters, and headed out.  About halfway to the office I twisted by foot on the side of the sidewalk and fell, which really sucked.  Cut my knee and hand a little.  Nothing bad, mostly just embarrassing.

Just two minutes later, I nearly fell again when a lizard shot out from the side of the sidewalk and went directly under my foot as I was about to put it down.  I had to do some fancy footwork to keep from stepping on it.

It was eleven thirty when we got into the office.  We cleaned up as it had been a decently hot walk.  We found the office totally empty.  So we at least have the place to ourselves.  So the air conditioning got cranked up and we got to work.

Dominica has been promising the girls that they would go to see the new My Little Pony movie in the movie theater today.  So they went this afternoon and Dominica splurged on the collector’s edition popcorn container and cups.  They got there early and managed to get the best seats in the house, front row in the center of the balcony.  So even Luciana has an unobstructed view.

Luciana, Liesl, and Dominica Watching My Little Pony at Lewisville Mall

Surprisingly, we got the office to ourselves for quite some time.  We had been sure that at least one or two people would have been in the office when we got there.  But getting a lot of time to ourselves was pretty surprising.

For lunch this afternoon, we walked over to Firehouse Subs and got food to go to take back to the office so that we could continue working.  The office remained empty until around two when one person made a ten minute showing, popping in and then leaving again.  So by just after two, the office was once again empty.  Good for being productive, at least. Absolutely no interruptions.

Between working late on Wednesday and pulling a full day in the office today with no one else here, we figure that we are almost exactly double the total office time that anyone else has put in while we are here.

I’ve gotten SGL caught up a bit more, today.  I now have all of June, 2017 completed and have begun working on July.  The less that I am behind, the better that I feel.  Still two and a half months left to go, early July to the first week of September.  But there are a few weeks of that stretch that are already done.  I am getting there.  I’ve got a process now.

Everyone finally came to the office around six thirty tonight.  So Jeremy and I put in a full day in the office after working from the hotel, before anyone arrived.  It was a long day, with way too much waiting and wondering what was going on.

We had some short meetings at the office, then we went to the condo for drinks.  We tried taking an Uber but the Uber driver never came to the office.  We saw her drive up and down the street but she never pulled in.  I tried to catch up with her, but she went too quickly and even though we were clearly visible and waiting, she never pulled in.  So that didn’t work.

We can back to the hotel, quickly changed, and then went to the condo.  We had drinks there for probably two hours.  Then we hit Star of India for some quick take out and back to the hotel where we ate and watched telenovelas before going to bed on the early side.

The plan is that there will be meetings in the office all weekend.  So we have a busy schedule until we leave for the airport.

October 5, 2017: Jeremy’s First Dosa

DuoLingo Streak: 33 Days

I got up at six this morning, side effect of going to bed just after midnight.  How do I manage to sleep so little?

I got up, showered, did some work, and prepped for an eight o’clock presentation that Jeremy and I were scheduled to give this morning.  I got Jeremy up at a quarter till eight so that we could run down and get breakfast and coffee before the presentation.

The presentation ended up getting pushed back till a little after nine, so we got picked up and went into the office and did things from the board room instead.

We had a very good morning.  Lots of good presentation, meeting, and decisions.  We are very excited about where things are going.

For lunch, Sujit, Jeremy, and I went to Woodlands so that Jeremy could experience masala dosa.  He loved it.

Jeremy’s First Masala Dosa. At the Woodlands in Phoenix.

I went for a spicier, more southern style dosa myself.  It, too, was delicious.

“Spicy” Dosa

Our new monitors for the office came today.  So we now have twenty seven inch Dell monitors on our desks in the office, this is so much better than it was before.  We got a great deal on these from Costco, too.  So Jeremy decided that he wanted to stay late in the office so that he could work from the big monitor for as long as he could.

So we got a quiet evening in the office, our first time using it alone for a long period of time.  We worked quietly in the office till around seven thirty.

Sujit picked us up tonight and we went to a bar for a couple of beers and dinner.  Jeremy got a mushroom burger that he said was the best that he has had in a long time.  I got a grilled salmon wrap which was quite good.  I should have gotten it with a salad but I got tater tots instead.

We got back to the hotel at nine thirty and actually decided to go straight to bed.  So off to sleep super early tonight.  We are both feeling just a bit worn out.

October 4, 2017: Fourteenth Anniversary

DuoLingo Streak: 32 Days

Marriage Streak: 14 Years

Wednesday.  Today is Dominica and my fourteenth wedding anniversary.  Jeremy and I started the day having breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express.  Then Vijay picked us up and we got a ride into the office.

A busy morning in our office and then we did a lunch out with Vijay at the Curry Bowl; Jeremy’s second time getting Indian cuisine and his first Indian buffet.  He enjoyed it very much.

Just heads down work all afternoon and back to the hotel on the early side, around four, to work from there.  We put in maybe an hour at the hotel and then decided to do an early dinner and walked over to the Waffle House and had dinner there.  It was nearly empty.

After dinner, straight back to the hotel and we worked until around one in the morning.  We have a big presentation at eight in the morning so need to get a little sleep before it is time for that.