Print Story WWDC: Day -1
Diary
By ObviousTroll (Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 05:45:45 AM EST) (all tags)

I was planning to write this last night, but I was burned out and my hotel room doesn’t have web access. It does, however, have lots of.... character. This trip is really turning out to be a comedy of self-inflicted errors.

Inside: Impressions of a city I haven’t seen in 20 years.



Pre history: Got the command to go to WWDC. Promptly book a package deal through Travelocity for airfare, hotel and car saving the company $BIG_BUCKS. Thinking cleverly, I verify that the hotel is close to where the show will be. Feel proud of myself.

Friday Afternoon/Evening: She Who Holds the Lease and the Goth Kitty go camping. It pours rain. Mike and I watch Jet Li whip a bunch of 1930’s Japanese soldiers while dealing with asian racism and learning life lessons from a samurai while comparing kung fu and karate.

Saturday: The kenpo school has a fund raiser for a family who lost their dad - combination bake sale and board breaking. On my first break, I hit completely wrong and hurt my hand big time. Very embarassing. I did break a few boards, but with my hand feeling the way I did, I dumped my plan to break 5. My mom comes over to watch, allowing all the other students to find out exactly why I behave the way I do. Mom offers to drive me to the airport, so I agree (Error #1: Forgetting that now I will need a ride home from teh airport when I get back...) We all go out to dinner (burgers) and a movie (Revenge of the Sithy Boyth) throw all my stuff into a bag and head over to Mom’s place to crash. (Error #2: Forgot to pack cell phone charger. I have a car adapter but... see below.)

Sunday, 3:30 AM EDT: Get up, Mom drives me to the airport, drops me off ~ 4:45 AM. Hugs goodbye. Appallingly, at o-dark-30 on a Sunday morning, there is a long line at the check in counter. Fortunately, I’ve stuffed my week’s supplies into two small bags, so I go to the check in ATM, pay some extra bucks for an upgrade to “Economy Plus” and sit down in the holding pen waiting area.

Sunday,  7 AM EDT - 10 AM PDT: Actually had a nice quite flight. Note to self: If that was an “upgraded” seat I am damn glad I didn’t try to sit in the regular seats.

Sunday, 10 AM PDT: Meet cow-orker at SFO, get rental car. Rental car turns out to be multiple errors: Error #3 - despite wanting a basic “midsize”, Hertz gives me a free, uh, upgrade to an Imperial Star Destroyer Mercury Monster. This thing is like driving a battleship but without getting to say stuff like “Fire All Batteries!!!!”. Error #4 - I shouldn’t have gotten it in teh first place. Most of my business travels take me to places like Nowheresville, Kentucky and a car is essential. You need it to get from the hotel to the customer, from the customer to the food and back to the hotel. It’s even usually cheaper to rent a car for a couple of days than the cab fare to/from the airport. Alas, I’m staying in downtown San Francisco and everything I need is in walking distance. I probably won’t drive the car at all. oops.

Sunday, 11 AM PDT: Make it to San Francisco. Discover that Moscone Center is deepintheheartathecity and it dawns on me that the car isn’t needed. Drop the cow-orker off at his hotel and go to mine. Discover Error #5:  while cow-orker is staying at $MODERN_MEGA_CHAIN_SKYSCRAPER I am staying at a hotel that was built at the dawn of the industrial age. Don’t get me wrong - it’s a cool building. I’m sure that, back after the war, this place was the cat’s pajamas. But the two blocks of sex shops along the way was kind of... Off putting. Error #6: THEY HAVE NO PARKING - but they do have a special deal with a nearby garage. For merely $25 USD per diem, they will allow me to stash the Star Destroyer. Oy! Entering the elevator to my room, I discover - I swear I’m not making this up - the elevator is the exact same make and model used in my first dorm in college. I know that control panel. I’ve re-wired that control panel. There’s no mistaking that style - the whole elevator looks like it was cast from a single block of 80 year old stainless steel. I know that my old dorm was built circa 1925.

Sunday Afternoon: Error #7: Head to Moscone Center. Register. Get a really cool laptop backpack and the required t-shirt. Discover that my registration is for plain-old-regular-folks and not the l33t d3v3l0p3r badge I need to actually get to teh data center and set up our demos. Spend the rest of the day getting chaperoned in and out of the magic back-stage areas by Actual Apple Employees. No going to the bathroom without a chaperone, please. After hours of watching other people work, I realize that they don’t actually know how to set up our gear and are trying to do something I’ve never seen done before. Spend the next several hours trying to pull a miracle out of my constipated ass ear. Said miracle does, in fact, make an appearance around 8 PM. Verify that the node I configured is working and am assured that an Actual Apple Employee will clone the node onto all the others.

Sunday Evening: San Francisco has too many homeless. I don’t mean that in some sort of politcal way, but as a statement that, compared to what I remember from walking the streets of Philly, there are waay to many people camped out on the ridiculously wide sidewalks. In a four block hike, three different people hit me up for a buck, and two for a cigarette. Looking at their faces, I could see they needed them, so I did. I wonder if I can expense this? I also wonder when I started looking like a soft touch. SWHTL would be disappointed - she told me she used to go out with me because I scared off the panhandlers.

Re-reading that, I should note that while it’s all true, my impression isn’t quite that negative. The entire area screams “eclectic” as if Philly’s South Street had been replicated about a dozen times, and the results were sprinkled all over the center city shopping district.  There’s a full electric rock band in front of the Virgin store, and even the bums are faultlessly polite. Bicycles are everywhere, even at this hour. (Personally, I would die if I tried riding these hills. Either a heart attack going up, or a crack up coming down.). People are pleasant - they smile. Three cops are chatting on a corner.

Sunday Night: My body clock is completely whacked. Personal time is 1 AM,  I should be out like a light, but I’m playing Lumines on my PSP, waiting for sleep. I hear what sounds like gun shots. ~ 4 AM PDT I’m awoken by a fire truck. My body clock says I should be the hell at work by now, so more sleep is out.

More than anything else, it feels like I’m in college again.

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WWDC: Day -1 | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
ouch by tps12 (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:01:09 AM EST
The South Street comparison is unduly harsh. Or maybe it was once less lame than it is now. But I like SF.

Hey! by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:26:26 AM EST
I walked by there just ten minutes ago. Which gawking hippy tourist were you?

They have free wireless next door at the Metreon if you care. They don't seem to allow ssh out, though.

The people on the street here are mostly insane and/or addicts. SF the city has pretty much the most idiotic homeless policy of a major American city. If you want to give out change, I suggest the woman who sits just north of Mission on 4th street, as she seems least likely to be a scam artist.

You probably don't look like a "soft touch". You probably look like a "tourist". In any case, those conferences are panhandler magnets.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Maybe he needs a red bandanna in his back by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:32:48 AM EST
pocket, to shed that "tourist" appearance. And a piercing.


[ Parent ]
I've covered my backpack with balloons by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:39:55 AM EST
will that help me look more "local"?


[ Parent ]
Almost certainly. (nt) by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:46:01 AM EST

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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
I'm no gawking hippy tourist! by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:37:24 AM EST
I've since been escorted into the inner sanctum with the l33t hippy tourists.

You might, however, have noticed that several of the ladies at registration have balloon animals - which is how I got them to escort me to the inner sanctum.

;-P


[ Parent ]
Hey! by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:45:25 AM EST
I'm not actually at the conference! What do you think I am, some beret wearing frenchified Mac hippy!?!?

I just walked by it on my way to a good ol' American job programming for the one true OS.

Anyway, I swear to Gord I saw a balding asian fellow almost get flattened by a tour bus trying to get a picture of the big Apple logo.

But let me ask you this...did you bring shorts? 'Cause shorts == TOURIST.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Thank God I put them back! by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:51:00 AM EST
I'm decked out in my standard costume of denim, denim and more denim. I left the cowboy hat at home.


[ Parent ]
You have to really hustle to be homeless in by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 06:27:38 AM EST
Philly, or any northern city, the harsh winters deter the casual homeless. I saw lots more homeless in Raleigh than I ever did up north. Plus, the Bay area has a reputation that draws them.


We should bomb the homeless!! by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 07:43:33 AM EST
Teach those lazy bastards a lesson they won't soon forget!!

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

Definitely. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 08:55:33 AM EST
By handing them money and ciggies I'm only enabling their misbehavior.

You miss my point, I think. I would have expected the land of American Socialism to have fewer homeless than a Red State like my own.


[ Parent ]
Oh I got your point by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #16 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 09:06:15 AM EST
I was just joking. You know, about the solution to every problem being to bomb people less fortunate than you...

Anyways, when you're homeless it's all about the warm weather, and opportunities. But yeah, the last time I was in SF for work I was surprised at the number of homeless, much more than I've seen anywhere else.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

[ Parent ]
My bad. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 09:22:56 AM EST
I agree about the mild weather; I guess the thing that blew me away though was that the homeless looked awful. Physically in much worse condition - which I guess goes to your (and George's) point that the milder weather makes the city attractive; people can survive here in much worse condition than they could survive in a city where freezing the death is a real issue.


[ Parent ]
You moved to Alabama? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 09:25:54 AM EST
I thought the liberalist bastions of Philadelphia and Pittsburg kept PA barely blue, despite the solid red interior.


[ Parent ]
I thought we barely went red? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 09:28:07 AM EST
In any case, except for presidential elections, even our Democrats are more conservative than Bush.


[ Parent ]
Kerry squeaked out 140k more votes than by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 09:32:15 AM EST
Bush. That's probably the population of a few graveyards in Philly, but who knows.


[ Parent ]
There is a hertz agency nearby by ptyx (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 08:42:48 AM EST
...on the small plaza north of the Moscone (Union Square?). Take a map and plan your drive, most of the streets are one way - just to remind you why you don't want a car in SF.

You can drop your car there at no extra charge (at least it worked for me last time I was there).

Definitely beats paying for the parking and having to drive back to the airport.


Definitely. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 08:55:06 AM EST
By handing them money and ciggies I'm only enabling their misbehavior.

You miss my point, I think. I would have expected the land of American Socialism to have fewer homeless than a Red State like my own.


[ Parent ]
Doh! by ObviousTroll (1.00 / 1) #14 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 08:55:59 AM EST
Wrong thread.


[ Parent ]
Well by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 09:43:10 AM EST
In the Land of Socialism, a studio apartment sells for $650,000.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Lol - as I read your remark by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 09:49:41 AM EST
an Apple dude was complaining about how he couldn't work in Cupertino because of the housing problem.


[ Parent ]
Realistically speaking by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 10:07:57 AM EST
SF isn't really that "socialist". However, one thing that might explain the homeless situation is that for a long time, the city would give pretty much any homeless person $600 or so cash on the first of the month. (In an odd coincidence, most heroin overdoses or alcoholic ODs occurred the first week of the month.)

The city provides little in the way of other services (like shelters), however. But homeless advocates are relentless in their determination to retain the right of the citizens to shit on the sidewalk.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Are you sure that's not the UKian tourists by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 10:28:22 AM EST
eTH says shitting on sidewalks and steps is all the rage over there.


[ Parent ]
that is odd by tps12 (4.00 / 1) #25 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 10:32:21 AM EST
I wonder what the cocaine OD stats would look like if stock brokers all got their paychecks on the same day.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's the plan for today. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 08:56:21 AM EST
Because it was a package deal I may not get money back but it will still be cheaper.



[ Parent ]
WWDC: Day -1 | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback