After having survived potentially one of the longest days in recent memory, I am writing to you from the comfort of my own counch and using my own “ubiquitous” WiFi, which I now cherish dearly. You see, the hotel did have Internet service, but it was $14.95/day. Being the cheap ass bastard that I am, I said screw that. So, I used the tethering option on my iPhone to give my laptop WiFi when it actually needed it, and saved the surfing and downloading stuff for when I was sitting at Moscone.
Anyway, the day started off with me packing. I really don’t like packing, mostly because I’m no good at it. I did actually get the suitcase to zip, although I’m not sure it will ever zip the same ever again. Oh well. I gathered all my things up and headed to check out. The hotel kept the big suitcase for the day, so I wouldn’t have to lug it around. Kudos for that!
I set off for Moscone, ready to fully prep for the trip home in terms of my digital assets. I made sure my iPhone was stocked with the latest podcasts, checked in to my flight, and downloaded any last-minute beta builds of iOS I needed before leaving the pipe-o-plenty. Before sitting down, I picked up a crossaint and donut with some orange juice for breakfast. Figured it was going to be last time I got a “free” breakfast in a while, so why not.
The last three morning sessions went by without a hitch, as I tried to cram as much knowledge in before being cut off from the resources. Like Wednesday, they had a lunch speaker planned, so the line for the Presidio room stretched (and almost wrapped) around the top level “block”. Why that long a line on Friday, the last day of the conference and literally the last session? Because Buzz Aldrin was speaking.
That’s right, Dr. Buzz Aldrin (why did I not know he was a doctor?) spoke to us for about 90 minutes. The first third was giving us a little history on himself. The second third of the talk focused on the Apollo 11 mission specifically, and the last third was post-NASA and his efforts to continue the drive for space exploration today. All in all, pretty damn cool to see a living legend in person!
The biggest laugh and applause came from when he showed the YouTube video of himself punching out some douchebag that starting giving him crap coming out of some talk. It’s good to see that he has a sense of humor about things like this, even if it is after the fact. He said that he was going to have to stop doing that because as he got older, it became harder and harder to lift his arm up that high! Very entertaining and educatinal talk. Really glad I skipped lunch for that!
And with the end of that talk, WWDC was officially over. Wow, how did 5 days fly by so quickly? Leaving Moscone around 2:30pm, I had roughly 7 hours to kill before I got to the airport. What to do?
On Thursday (I think) Jayme reminded me of the thing we used to do whenever we’d visit a ballpark. We’d get each of our dads a pin to signify we had actually been there in person. Obviously, this had completely slipped my mind the night I was actually at the game, so I had to find them somewhere else. I walked down Market St., looking for one of those souvenir shops that you try not to see when you’re looking for real things to do. Finding a couple, no one seemed to have any Giants pins. In fact, no one had any pins of any kind. How strange.
I gave up on that for now and pinned my hopes (see what I did there?) on the airport later on to hunt these things down. Surely, they’d have one, right? (Yeah, not so much). But, I was hungry from skipping lunch, so I stopped at a sidewalk cafe/bakery and got myself a chicken club on sourdough bread. It was a good way to relax and waste some time. That seems to be the easiest way to waste time, doesn’t it? Just sitting, eating, and drinking!
After lunch, I walked down Market, back toward the hotel and everything. It was around 4:10pm and there was a 4:15 IMAX version of Super 8 playing. Really liking JJ Abrams’ stuff, I figured why not. I had some high hopes for this film as it was written by JJ Abrams and produced by Steven Speilberg, and had gotten rave early reviews. It DID NOT disappoint! Having never seen Speilberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I cannot compare it to that, as several reviewers did. I look at it as The Goonies meets E.T. meets Independence Day. It was fantastic. It was a story that wraps you up in it and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. I will definitely pay money to go see it again with Jayme.
At this point, it’s 6:45pm and I’m winding down. I made my way back to the hotel to pick up my bag. I walked in the Bell Desk area and stopped. This is where the Lees diverge. The old Lee would have gone on with the plan, gotten his bag, found a McDonald’s or Burger King (something quick) and headed on to the airport, just to make absolutely sure he didn’t miss his flight. What did the new Lee (or as I like to call him, Lee version 2.14) do? I walked right back out and found a local restaurant to eat at before heading back.
I actually took a gamble on this restaurant that I had been walking by for the past 5 days. It was called First Crush, and from the outside, it seemed to be all seafood and even specialize in Sushi. Yuk! It turns out that was the sign for some other place. This place (once I scoped out the menu) did have seafood, but also had some chicken and pasta based dishes. Sweet. Walked in, got a table, and sat down. Very nice ambiance. Kind of a hole-in-the-wall feel, with only about 12 tables in the place with a small bar.
I ordered a glass of red wine, interestingly called Donkey and Goat (random, huh?). But, it was a sweet wine, with very little bitterness in the aftertaste. Just the way I like it! I also ordered the Organic Gnocchi, served as the chef’s choice. Didn’t know what that meant exactly, but what the hell? It turns out it was in a cream and cheese-based sauce, with cooked broccoli, fresh grape tomatoes, wild mushrooms, and fresh melted mozzarella cheese. Very green Californian and frieking delicious!
I finished up there, made my way back to the hotel, and finally did pick up my bag to begin the long trek back home. I took BART right from Powell all the way to SFO Airport (probably a 45-minute ride). I got there in plenty of time, checked in, went through security, and found a cafe/bar lounge near my gate. I drank a few beers and watched the Giants game until it was time to board.
I honestly don’t remember taking off, but I woke up about halfway through the flight, but couldn’t go back to sleep after that. So, I listened to my podcasts until we eventually got back to Atlanta. We landed at about 6:15am local time and I realized the night (at least my night) had flown by (woah, get that? Twice in the same story. Boom!).
I finally got to my car at the Parking Spot, and felt weird as I drove out. Not driving for 7 days leaves you with this weird notion that you don’t actually want to drive. Why deal with the maintenance nightmare all the time? Why forgo the very good habit of walking off most of what you eat every meal? I didn’t want to have go back to driving everywhere. Then, in the bleary-eyed morning, I realized where I live again. And I realized again that was never going to happen. *Sigh*
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