I'm back -- 05/17/08

Oh, okay, I've been back for a week...

But I've been busy...

So... to catch up... when I had last posted (two and a half weeks ago) I reported on the sudden onset of senior citizenship (*grin*) and frantic preparations for Jeremy's graduation and my trip to Las Vegas for a technical conference...

Jeremy -- and about a thousand of his fellow students -- graduated from New England Institute of Technology (usually referred to as "New England Tech") two weeks ago at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The guest speaker was Don Shula (for those of you outside of the U.S., he gained fame as the National Football League coach whose teams won more than any other coach in history and as the only coach with a perfect season -- and has since converted that into three best-selling books and a successful chain of steakhouse restaurants). The most interesting and entertaining commencement speaker I've encountered.

And then off to a restaurant for a mid-afternoon post-graduation celebratory lunch...

And then a quick dash over to the airport so I could catch my flight to Las Vegas -- by way of Phoenix -- six hours in a middle seat of a 737 -- change planes and catch an aisle seat for the remaining one hour flight. Cab to hotel, check in, unpack -- it's now been a bit over ten hours since lunch -- grab sandwich and a beer in the hotel sports bar -- back to my room -- get to bed at midnight (that's Las Vegas time, 3:00 a.m. according to my body's east coast time).

The view from my room (15th floor of the Ipanema Tower at the Rio:

Las Vegas by day Las Vegas by night

It was a busy week, although I only gave one presentation this year. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. followed by a series of presentations, workshops, and hands-on labs... usually an hour and a quarter each, although some of the labs and workshops were double-length. Lunch. More presentations, etc. Usually followed around six by business meetings or round-table sessions. Monday evening was a meeting of the education group that contains my department followed by a dinner for that group. Tuesday night was what they call a "poster session" (I described it to my daughter as being like a high school science fair for grown up programming and business analysis geeks) where displays are set up all around a large banquet room (remember, there are about 1800 of us attending this) and people wander around looking at displays, eating various kinds of food available at food stations, and talking. Wednesday night a group dinner off-site. Thursday night was a "free" night for my group -- I joined some colleagues in eating at a buffet restaurant in Paris. Friday had only morning sessions. Go to the airport and head for home.

We were lined up for boarding of my flight back to Providence when they announced that there was a mechanical problem with the airplane and they would have to replace it. The plane was backed away from the gate and taken off to Joe's Taxidermy Service and Airplane Repair Shoppe (or whatever). I do want to get home as soon as possible, but I'd rather not fly in a broken airplane. A replacement plane is found and we finally leave -- about two hours late. This means that instead of reaching Providence at 11:20 p.m., we are connected to the gate at 1:20 a.m. Ah, but look, my bag is about the fifth one to come along at baggage claim. Grab it and head outside where Jeremy picks me up and takes me home. Home at 2 a.m. Eat. Get to bed around 3 a.m.

On Saturday Nancy and I wandered over to look at various plant and garden displays and to view the flowering crabapple trees at the URI spring garden festival. Mostly I am pretty much a zombie all day Saturday. We had dinner at Nancy's mother's house, came home, watched one episode of 24, and went to bed. Sunday morning we went back to Nancy's mother's house where a niece (and her father) were fixing pancakes for a Mother's Day breakfast (and two other nieces took care of the clean up).

A Mother's Day photograph -- Nancy and four of her sisters with their mother -- starting on the left, Karen, Janet, Mom, Clara, Nancy, Cathy.

(If this entry looks a bit unfamiliar -- I've always let the font go to whatever you have set for your default font but this time I set it to Verdana, so if you have that font and your settings don't override, then most of the text in this entry would have a different look than for the past many years.)

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