Sunday, October 23, 2005

On NYC, and the joys of wireless internet

I'm sitting in a Starbucks on the northwest corner of Union Square in NYC, having recently dropped $2.95 for 2 hours of internet access (The network is apparently in the McDonald's next door... wonder if that's strictly kosher?) Anyhow, Starbuck's T-Mobile 2-hour rate was $6, so McD's "Wayport" access won out. Leave it to McDonald's to underprice everyone else in the neighbourhood.

The good news is that I actually found a place down by NYU that offers free Wi-Fi (a very pleasant little Tea Shop on MacDougall just south of Washington Square - highly recommended!), so that's where I've been checking my email while I've been here since Thursday.

However, it's Sunday, the conference ended this afternoon, I've been lugging a heavy backpack around for 4 days, I took a long walk through lower Manhattan this afternoon and Washington Square was not on my way back here. So I've ponied up the $$ for a couple hours to check my mail one last time before I call it a night. My feet hurt and I needed hot chocolate with whipped cream. Not having to wander too far from my hotel at this point in the weekend was worth it. Yes, I stopped by the WTC site while hoofing it around lower Manhattan. I felt it was something I needed to do, and frankly, it's kind of hard to MISS it. Not much to say about that except, you know, damn.

The conference was... educational, I suppose. I think what it boils down to is that I'm just not a very social person. I am also incapable of attending every session of every conference I go to. I know people who can't imagine missing even one minute of a conference, and I was that way at my first conference. But I quickly discovered that 3-4 straight days, 12 talks plus plenaries, panels and obligatory socializing is just too much for me. I bailed on the first session of Saturday morning to sleep in a bit and preserve my sanity, and skipped a couple time slots here and there to extend lunch hours for more "me time". At a certain point it all becomes Far Too Much Information.

Our presentation went OK, once we were all present and accounted for... my co-presenter had gone to the break room between sessions while I went in the presentation room to set up the laptop. Apparently, the clock in the break room was out by 10 minutes from the clock in our presentation room, because when the session chair started asking me at 11:30 if I wanted to start, and my co-presenter was still not there with the handouts (!!), I was a little wierded out. I stalled, she came in a minute later - to the unpleasant surprise that she was not 5 minutes early but 5 minutes late according to the room clock (!!!) - and we quickly got going. Of course, half of our audience was in the break room as well, and they began trickling in a couple minutes in to our talk, sigh. We were none too happy about the sutuation, but we finished in our alloted 20 minutes (people were still trickling in 10 minutes in to the thing), answered a couple questions and that was it. No sense fussing about it now, we'll have a post-mortem next week anyhow.

So that's that, another conference presentation for the CV, and it's time to head home.

Let's see if I can make it across New York State without getting another speeding ticket (like how I slipped that in there?).

My couple hours of internet time are about to run out soon, and I've been hogging a table at Starbucks for a while (but not as long as some of my fellow squatters, hiphop-boy and actor-boy. Why yes, I've given them names, why do you ask?). But I do need to get back to my teeny-tiny hotel room and try to make some headway on the little bit of work I brought with me, so that the rest of my week after I return home won't, you know, suck.

Apparently there's a decent yarn shop within a 3 minutes walk from my hotel... I've been too busy until now to look the place up, but I'll be stopping by there tomorrow morning when they open, before I head up to Grand Central to catch my train to Poughkeepsie and recover my waiting car.

What, you thought I was crazy enough to drive into Manhattan? I'm a little nuts, yes, but the sanity bug bit me in time. $30 per day to park my car was slightly less appealing than fighting the taxis for road space in a city where I don't know the roads.

It's been fun, thanks New York. I've informed the husband that he is required to come with me next time. It not as much fun exploring a fun place like NYC without anyone to share it with!

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