The plan was to fly out around 1:30 EST to come out to Seattle on Sunday, but got a call from a friend that there were going to be 50mph winds right about then, so United let us change to a 7:45 am flight. Let me just start by saying, I am not a fan of being up that early. Still hit a bit of turbulence on the way out, but wasn’t bad all things being said.
Landed and got our stuff easily (I’m traveling with my wife and her best friend, they’re off having a ball this week), and planned on taking the Link Light Rail to downtown. It’s a bit of a hike and we’re traveling with someone with a bad back, so the hike to the Light Rail is a bit of a journey. It’s upstairs from baggage claim, across into the parking garage and follow the signs allllllll the way around to the station. Thankfully, some really nice guy in a cart gave us a lift – totally key.
Went to Westlake station and walked a few blocks to our hotel – forgot Seattle isn’t as flat as NJ. Advice from my wife – don’t go to Pike Place Market in heels unless you wear them all the time 🙂 Got situated and grabbed a bite at Blue Acre Seafood around the corner – good poached eggs and bacon. If you’re Gluten Free, they’ll accommodate you. At this point, I’m still nursing the sinus headache from hell, but a few DayQuil later and a walk to Pike Place Market to see the Shouting Fish Men, I was starting to feel human again. The walk back wasn’t bad for me, but my wife and her friend were doing the hills from the market to and from our hotel in heels – they didn’t recommend it :).
Went to Wild Ginger for dinner – we were smart and took Lyft both ways – well worth the 5-8$. If you go there, get the Hanoi Tuna and the spicy wings. Way too good. They have things listed as GF, so it was easy to see what I could and couldn’t eat. Crashed around 11 pm local time, woke up around 6 am local time and felt pretty normal.
Suggestion #1 – if you get into town early enough, registration is open on Sunday so go check in and get your stuff. Wasn’t a line when I got there, but it was busy a bit later.
Got something to eat and plied my brain with several cups of strong coffee in an effort to not melt my brain with everything I was hoping to learn from Itzik Ben-Gan in the TSQL Fundamentals Pre Con.
That is One Smart Dude. I filled in more gaps in my knowledge and picked up like 1000 things I want to bring back to work and to my class to teach my students. I know he’s been doing it for a long time, but he’s a REALLY great presenter.
Suggestion #2 – bring a sweatshirt or something you can throw on in case it gets cold in the room or in the lunch area. I say a sweatshirt because it’s not bulky and you can stuff it into your bag. I needed it to run back to my room for something I forgot but then didn’t need it later when it warmed up. Layers, and be versatile.
Learned a lot of cool stuff that I didn’t know I could do already, made so many connections between separate concepts in my brain that I’m sure you could feel blocks falling into place from 20 feet away. Did have a group of three guys behind me that were talking most of the time which was pretty annoying, but not enough to turn around and get them to shaddup :).
Back in the room now, decompressing, making plans with some other folks to meet for breakfast tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have to grade assignments and get feedback to my students so they can have everything in place for when I get back, but I’m already changing my intended lesson for next week to incorporate the way Itzik make his points.
I’m still being a bit of a wimp when it comes to introducing myself, but I did make sure I sat at tables during breakfast and lunch where people were discussing things and contributed a bit myself.
Want to look for people during the coffee breaks with First Timer ribbons on their lanyards and talk to them. Noticed a few standing alone during the PM session, but had to take a call and they were gone by the time I was done.