So here's my not so brief summary of last week...
Left for San Diego on Monday morning. Flight was okay, nothing special. Arrived in San Diego around 11am, grabbed a cab and learned cell phones while driving are now illegal in San Diego. Watching the cabbie try to conceal it was amusing.
Arrived and checked in and realized I was super hungry. Lucky for me my people knew people and those people knew where to find good sushi. Not quite Zenbu mind you, but a great place in Hillcrest with a little front people watching area. Followed that up with drinks at a local dive bar and shopping/pedicure at Horton, then back to the hotel to go over my presentation. By the time I made it back to my room it was 5pm or so and there were flowers and a huge bottle of grey goose waiting for me. I called the front desk and was informed that they were two separate gifts, both from anonymous people. So whomever sent the wonderful treats - a BIG Thank You!!! I just wish the gift givers would start identifying themselves so I can thank them in person!
So Monday night, a group of us met up in the hotel lobby bar, the undocumented meeting place for SEC. A group headed out for dinner with CUTEK at Flemmings - Yum! Great dinner, super wine (Spellbound), and an over all fun group of people. Back to the hotel bar for more catch up with friends and then to bed for probably the earliest night of the week.
Tuesday morning - set up the Users' Group Booth. Learned knot tying from JBF. Taught myself that ironing a vinyl sign is a bad idea - but using a pillowcase makes it all better. Ran errands, did misc conference stuff. When I finally got around to registering I was reading Dan Rather's biography and suddenly looked at the attached page and had one of those surreal life moments. Thanks to the wonders of the alphabet, I was the first featured bio after Dan. - and yes I signed autographs all week.
Dodgeball was a blast Tuesday - great turnout! the rest of the pics are located at SSCUG.COM under SEC/Dodgeball. We even had a post dodgeball volleyball game this year. Fun Fun Fun. I even avoided taking a hit to the face this year! Woot!
Tuesday night was the poolside reception - I made it halfway around the pool and then it was time to run off again - so many people to see, so little time! The annual Trace party was fun. I can't wait to see the video! I spent most of the night on the dance floor (surprise, surprise) and Hung and Lapuz were amusing. The real surprise of the night was the SMUG awards. I took home the most likely to share free code (ok...not so much a surprise), and also the most participation in user groups(big surprise) - I thought JBF or Greg had that one for sure.
Wednesday started the conference - I tried to twitter along with the sessions. Twitter account - SYMIGODDESS so I'll leave those details there :) Dan Rather was great. I loved his anecdote of "go to hell, go to hell, go to hell" and I think he got choked up at the end. It was a little strange. He was speaking about what America needs to do to keep up with the rest of the world. It was amazing to see such an icon in person. What a great key note.
Wednesday night was the Wescom jam session. So for those that don't know - they were scheduled to go on earlier and it got changed at the last minute. This meant I wouldn't be able to sing and play guitar as originally planned. I heard they were great. I am so sad I missed the whole thing... Who has the video? :(
My dinner plans however, worked out just fine. Dinner at Peohe's was fabulous as always. I simply adore the Frangelico mahi mahi. It's to die for. And again - great company, wine, etc... it doesn't get much better. Once again my foodie roots win out over most everything else. After dinner we got a group together for karaoke and headed out to the Lamplighter. Yay! we closed the place down.
Thursday morning I presented my session - I think it went over well. I had a lot of great feedback after wards. I can't wait to get the playback. I had slight butterflies going in, but as soon as I made it to the stage they dissappeared and I had fun with it. I hope the attendees did as well.
Creative Solutions was a lot of fun this year as well. I was happy to see work from people other than myself. Last year got a little silly and I am happy to see all the great work people are creating - it gives me new ideas for my own "next big thing".
Thursday night we took a bike cab to the House of Blues and arrived to find a live rock band (video game) set up on stage. I have to say playing rock band on stage was one of the highlights of my trip. Silly as it seems - I have never had so much fun playing the game with live jeers and cheers. The crowd was great and I played until they shut it down for Belushi. I also got my other highlight of the conference from Ted and Kathy during rock band playing - a backstage pass to meet Jim Belushi!!! I was on cloud nine. Belushi was fabulous and played to the crowd all night long. Dancing on stage was a blast, but meeting him after the show was absolutely amazing. He was so down to earth and just an overall cool guy. He even teared up when talking about his movie with Tupac. Who would have thought?
We headed back out to karaoke again that night and once again closed down the bar. I even got in my 3am baja fish tacos. How I wish I could get those outside of San Diego and have them be half as wonderful!
Friday morning sessions were not as well attended. There were a few people probably hurting from the fun of the night before. I was up bright and early and finished up the morning with lunch at the Harbour House and a little souvenir shopping before heading back to the airport.
I get to the airport to find out I have been bumped up to first class. A perfect way to end the week. I had an absolute wonderful time in San Diego. It was great to see everyone again and live like a rock star.
short list of my favorite things from last week:
the hope of fat spiderman
dancing with Jim Belushi
hanging out with Belushi backstage
live stage rock band and scoring 100% on expert Maps and Wave of Mutilation vocals - and a 98% on guitar when singing and playing at the same time
almost bringing home a new guitar
signing conference book autographs
endless karaoke with friends
pop out eye nemo pens - my favorite swag this year