TechEd 2009 started out for me with a 9 AM flight to LAX. I had enough time for the traditional Wolfgang Puck smoked salmon pizza (yum!) before boarding started, a good way to start the day. The flight was full, so there was someone sitting next to me. She had a Bichon puppy in a carrier under the seat which raised all sorts of red flags in my mind as she sat down, but my fears were unfounded. The dog never made a peep.
We arrived on time, and my checked bag showed up (albeit after a long wait). Rather than take the bus to Union Station and take the Metro to my hotel, I wound up going with the shared van service.
Checked in at the Omni and whipped out my Select Guest number thereby ensuring I get my free LA Times, complimentary morning beverage, and most importantly… free wireless Internet! My room is nice enough but not quite the palatial rooms I keep reading about on Twitter from some other Krewe members. Plus this year I have a roommate; first time for me. I offered to share my room with Ben Geers from the School of Social Work in the interest of saving money and all that. I can’t just throw my stuff all over the room like I normally would.
All settled in, I took the shuttle down to the Convention Center and finished checking in. I really like the new bag. I prefer the messenger bag style over as backpack, and this one seems fairly sturdy. Not a big fan of the TechEd t-shirt this year. I just don’t see myself writing on the shirt with a permanent marker.
I wandered around the convention center, seeing where the rooms were located, tested out the CommNet machines, and did some shopping at the TechEd store. They’ve really hidden the store this year, tucking it into a side room, 405. Much smaller than previous years. Bought some trinkets to take back to the team and a mini plasma orb for my desk. Always wanted one and $12 for a little one seemed a fair price. On my way out I was able to spin the prize wheel for a shot at various, wonderful prizes. Unfortunately I didn’t win one of those; instead I won a luggage tag. At least it is something I can use.
Took the bus back to the hotel then walked over to the Pershing Square Metro station and hopped the red line for Hollywood. Noted the changes and development around the El Capitan and Mann’s Chinese Theater, then walked down to Sunset for lunch at… In-n-Out! I hadn’t had a Double Double in several years, and it tasted every bit as good as I remembered. Really wish we had them back in St. Louis.
Metro back to the hotel, then worked on email and sorting through the materials in the bag until Ben arrived. By the time he landed, and made his way via the shuttle service, it was around 9 PM. Not knowing what was still open for dinner, we asked the concierge and he recommended a place called Pete’s Cafe. The Omni has a free towncar service within a three mile radius, so we made use of this perk to get there and back. Sure beats a taxi. Had a very good macaroni and cheese entree. Place was pretty busy considering the late hour.
Reviewed the schedule for a bit, but since I’m 2 hours ahead, I’m pretty wiped out. Time to turn in. We’re planning to get there early so Ben can check in, and we can get our bearings straight.