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I wish they all could be….

September 25, 2005
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Sept 7th I flew to LA and then onward to San Diego. Had meetings with a game developer in San Diego on the 8th and 9th.

Although I lived in NY for a few years, I appreciate that every part of the US is different. I hadn’t really experienced California and this was my chance. The meetings on the 8th & 9th were long but worthwhile and setup our projects quite well. Though we did have to endure a working-dinner. Our colleagues from Seattle are good company. One person (in the developer company) is well travelled , multilingual, a wine snob and a pain in the arse.

La Jolla (once I found out how to pronounce it…… la hoya….) was nice but a little quiet. Not a lot of action there – some restaurants but that’s it. My colleague (in his early-mid 30s was “carded” in the bar of one of the restaurants by a guy who was barely 25 if he was a day….).

Celebrity non-encounter story:

So, my colleague & I are walking along the main drag in La Jolla looking for a sushi place. I notice that approaching us is the guy who played Cliff in Cheers (actor John Ratzenberger) with a very attractive lady by his side. To our right were 4 frat-guys who had obviously had 3 whole beers that evening and were being wild-and-crazy-guys. Eventually one of them realised there was a celeb in our midst. It took a couple of minutes (by which time John had passed by… I can call him John… I feel I can do that) before one of them could say “Cheers” to his friends. After another minute or two they all realised this was some famous guy from TV. Before you could say celebrity-stalker they start to shout “Norm !!” down the street at (my new friend) John.

How bad does it get when you have to listen to drunks shout at you in the street… and even then… they can’t even get your character name right.

At least they didn’t call him Buzz.

At some point on Thursday or Friday I spoke with my friend Paul in Australia. My timing was , as usual, awful and I called just as he and his family were about to go to the funeral parlour with his father (yes, I knew he had just died… that’s the reason I was callling). I managed to top this just over a week later when I phoned from Dublin and woke Paul at some ungodly hour of the morning. Sorry about that mate !

Saturday was quite the tourist day. Free from meetings and business we went to Seaworld. Good to see all that life in a big glass bowl. At the end of the day we wandered over toward Shamu the killer whale. Before the show began we saw a video tribute to the American armed forces which involved asking the members of the army in the audience to stand up and be applauded. I felt incredibly uncomfortable as I sat with my arms folded. They “defending our country” apparently. My colleague wasn’t particularly impressed either and was a little more vocal than I. I couldn’t wait to get out of the place.

To make up for all that, we went to Fry’s Electronics. For my European brothers… this is a huge warehouse full of electronics, gadgets, software, consumer goods. You would have been proud of me : I didn’t buy anything. My colleague did – an in-flight power supply for our laptops. More on this later.

Sunday we went to Mission Beach (see the previous blog) and just hung out in the sunshine watching the surfers and the oh-so-pretty West Coast Girls. I wish they all could be. It was Sept. 11th and I made an extra special effort to keep the TV turned off.

Monday we flew north to Seattle. For a change I was staying in a Marriott hotel near the offices. For the last 10 years or so I’ve stayed in the Hyatt hotel in Bellevue. The change was worth it. Nicer hotel, better value and more to do locally because the hotel is located in a small town-centre with some stores & restaurants.

Work all day Tuesday & Wednesday with back-to-back meetings. Some folk from a game developer in Edmonton came down for meetings. We’ll be working on some interesting projects over the next couple of years.

Wednesday we went to the Redhook brewery in Woodinville. This was interesting – sampling beers with dinner. Can’t say I liked the porter – I’m not a porter-drinking type of guy. Because it was all-work-related I couldn’t get stuck in to the beers and had to behave myself. This is part of the problem with business travel : your time is not your own. I didn’t get to hook up with my friend Anita (see: I have mentioned you in my blog! how boring is it now ?).

By the time Thursday morning came along I couldn’t wait to get on the flight home. Even though we have to fly economy and even though there was a connection to be made in Chicago I was actually looking forward to it.

At SeaTac airport we investigated the in-flight power supply adapter that had been purchased in Fry’s. Bastard thing didn’t have the right connection for our Dell laptops.

Fortunately the flights home and the connection in Chicago were all uneventful and smooth. Apart from my stomach cramps courtesy of a dodgy breakfast in SeaTac (avoid the African Lounge !).

Bits of this journey will come back to me in the next couple of days and I’ll update the blog. Right now there’s a glass of red wine with my name on it and it’s calling my name.

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