Friday, April 04, 2008


New York, that is, not Minnesota. Sunday through Thursday morning (around 1:00 a.m.) I was either in Rochester, or traveling to or from and up and down within it (like Satan, in Job). I went there to provide training in our enterprise storage system for a roomful of testers. Some important things I learned:

1.) Embraers are too damn small if you're over about 5'6". And they're even worse if you're the only person on the plane who has the seat next to you taken and she doesn't fit either...but in the other direction. She was perfectly pleasant - except for the hacking cough, which I'll get to later - but she needed part of my seat.

2.) Taking off to Enya music is stupid. Sorry, Ming - but it's not inspirational in any manner whatsoever.

3.) If, upon landing, you announce loudly to the person on the other end of your cell phone in your most enthusiastic tone, "We're in Rochester,!" Then you're a douche.

4.) The magic of marrying Pooteewheet is lessened when I discover they're playing the same version of Pachabel's Canon in the airport bathroom that was played at our wedding.

5.) It's sad to see people reading computers and machines like Kindles at the airport instead of books. You can't tell what they're reading, so there's no way to initiate a conversation or just play "mentally pigeonhole that person". Are they a dust jacket person? Maybe not. Does it look like an airport buy, or brought from home? For example, the guy in the business suit at O'Hare reading Erika Jong - your brain can work with that and write a pretty good mental story. Digital books need some sort of virtualization so others can see what you're reading, even if you have 1000 books on the machine.

6.) The idea of a virtual reality overlay based on Discworld is pretty funny.

7.) When an attractive woman at the airport is talking on her cellphone and repeatedly rubbing her armrest in a sensual manner - is it because she's mentally flirting with the person on the other end of the line? Is it OCD? Or is it both?

8.) I never want to be the guy who does the loud handshake. The sort of guy who sees his friends at the airport and says, "Hey, Yah!" and they respond with some mutual musicality, "Hey, Yah!", and then they smack hands together loudly like they're each testing the one-handed clap koan. How do you get there? And is it absolutely necessary that at least one of you has your hat on backwards?

9.) If you run the front desk for a hotel, you should in no way laugh when a guest tells you the extra pillow smells of funk. You absolutely should not say, "You want to report a stinky pillow?" with a smirk. That appropriate response is "Yes, Sir. I'll send someone up there to burn it right now." Addendum: if you keep waking up in bed while rolling around, make sure it's not because you're rolling over onto a funky pillow.

10.) The skyway in Rochester in places goes underground. This should no longer be marked with signs indicating "skyway". If it does go underground, it should be routed around creepy malls with no people in them and almost no stores, except for Ming's manikin heads and a place to have your nails done, particularly if you're going to make the skyway mazelike with switchbacks already, so that even a guy like me is fearful of a good mugging.

11.) The Tap and Mallet in the burbs has a great selection of beer and my friends Marnie and Gordon are super cool for taking me out to drink, particularly as there only seemed to be one other place to drink downtown.

12.) If the person next to you on the way out to Rochester is hacking, it is likely that you may find yourself hacking on the way home. I downed a Starbuck's cooler and a large, cold orange juice at O'Hare trying to cool off, only to discover that it was a fever, not a particularly warm airplanes.

13.) Corporate law librarians are hilarious. If you ever meet mine, you should take her out for a drink - she's full of amusing stories. Addendum - never take a law librarian to see Atonement.

14.) Geocaching in a dead city core is a little creepy. Walking two miles out of the city in your dress shoes to find a cache is idiotic and nearly crippling. Finding that the cache on the other end is full of books, and you were out of reading material for the flight back is priceless.

Those were the highlights. Training went well, and one of the trainees who was vocal about not understanding why she needed the training on day one was helping others and commenting on how useful the knowledge was by day three. That has to be a good sign. Here are some pictures from the trip if you need more than a top 14, or are a visual sort of person.

The corporate office - the Aquaduct Building. At no time did I go in this building. I was in a very large skyscraper where people wore Rensselaer t-shirts.

High Falls. The High Falls Brewing company is behind me and to my left, they make Genesee. I remember when I went to school at RPI that they'd play the commercial for Genesee showing an old woman as your regular beer, and then a um..."hot"...young woman as Genesee. Predated the Apple/PC commercials by 20 years. As beautiful as the falls are, it's pretty much dead around there. It screams out for a hopping bar with music.

This is how far I was from downtown in my dress shoes and clothes. Those buildings way in the distance are in the foreground compared to my hotel.

The cache with the books in it. The selection wasn't great, but I pulled out a crappy Clive Cussler book that I almost finished on the flight back, despite it being 500 pages long.

The reason I was after a geocache in the first place. A geobug USA veteran bear that I picked up while caching near the Mississippi with The Boss. Now he sits near the Genesee River. I think he's almost gone coast to coast.


Steve Eck said...

Wow, the picture of the falls is terrific.

Anonymous said...

The reason I was after a geocache in the first place. A geobug USA veteran bear that I picked up while caching near the Mississippi with The Boss. Now he sits near the Genesee River. I think he's almost gone coast to coast.

It's always a nice feeling when you move a TB along to have it continue on its long journey. I haven't done anything spectacular with a TB in a long time (I generally get yelled at for holding on to them for more than a week while fully planning on taking them on a caching road trip) but I hope to soon.

I haven't cached since returning from a very cold caching trip to Omaha and back in January. Moe the Sleaze and I are going to Cottage Grove tomorrow to clear our a ton of new caches that popped up there today -- I hope that I can get back into it as it's been a long haul for me this past year.

Looks like Rochester was a good time and thanks for the smirks and outright laughs as you went through your bullet points. I got a big laugh out of "the douche" :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, you're going to have to explain #6 to me. I am a huge discworld fan. :P

Scooter said...

I was reading "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge on the plane - his future has virtual reality overlays everywhere, so if you really feel like it (and many in the book do), you can just layer Pratchett over everything via your contacts.