Baltimore, 2011

Quick business trip to Baltimore, combining a working meeting and a seminar at JHU.

Sunday April 3, 2011

I had packed and printed out my boarding pass the night before, but then fell asleep on the couch while reading, so I wasn't at my best in the morning as I was finishing up the last few things before heading out. Got out the door at just past 10am though, and managed to catch a bus without too long of a wait. Then I had to scurry a bit to catch the red line train pulling in, and then had a short wait at South Station for the silver line bus, but overall a low key commute to Logan C. But once I got there I had a hard time finding my gate info. I eventually found the check in counter and asked someone, they didn't have the flights up on any of the boards, just the JetBlue and United ones were on their screens. My gate was off to the side, but it had a backscatter xray so I had to wait a while for my hand search. The woman was professional and gentle with my knee and we had a short conversation about my inukshuk necklace. I didn't have too long to wait before boarding, but I was far back enough in the group order that I had to stuff my laptop carrying backpack under the seat in front of me, and just put my rain coat in the overhead bin. It was a short flight, only an hour in the air, but a bit turbulent. The woman next to me and I stayed buried in our books, and I let most of the rest of the rows behind me de-plane before I got up.

The water and pretzels on the plane weren't enough for lunch, and a delicious pizza smell side tracked me on the way to the taxi stand, so I ate a deep dish vegetarian slice in the airport before heading to my hotel. We drove right past the Baltimore Museum of Art, it's on the other side of the JHU campus from my hotel, an easy walk. I asked at the front desk if they were open on Sundays, but she didn't know. Luckily wireless access is free, so I checked myself and it was open until 6pm. I'd checked in at around 2pm, and by 3pm I was unpacked and out the door to walk over to the museum. It's always free, so just going for an hour and a half made perfect sense, using up the time before Anthony would pick me up for dinner. The "Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960" exhibit was neat, with some Diane Arbus and Helmut Newton pieces. I liked the candid shots and the series, as well as reimaginings of paintings. The American paintings collection was neat, but the best part of the visit was the impressive collection of bronzes. They have multiple pieces of Rodin's, cast after the pieces that we saw in Paris, as well as some by Degas, and less well known names attached to gorgeous pieces. I went back to the hotel via their sculpture garden, it's got a nice mix of modern and classical pieces. The stairs were giving me trouble though, I'd done my first parkour jam of the year the day before and my quads were killing me. Thank goodness for elevators, escalators and hand railings.

I had time to take a quick shower and change into business casual instead of airport casual and Anthony picked me up at 5:45 for our 6:15 reservation at Woodberry Kitchen. He's got a cute red Mini Cooper, so I got to enjoy my second ride in one. Our table was ready for us, but it turned out it was on the second floor balcony, and it took me a while to make my way up there. :) Once I was seated, I happily forgot my sore legs and enjoyed a cocktail to start, going with the April Showers after a bit of internal debate. It was a bit too summery/refreshing for the chilly day, but delicious in any case. My sunchoke soup could have been a bit more complex, but it was good. The main dish, buckwheat noodles with basil and spinach, was delicious, and filled me up. We had a bit of a wait for our main courses, but the time filled up with talk of books and travel and finding old class mates. He dropped me off and I happily changed into my sleep wear and settled in to catch up a bit on the computer. I have a bit to prepare for tomorrow but a couple hours before I have to sleep.

Monday April 4, 2011

Up at 7 and down for breakfast. I had a hard time getting stuff out of the server, I had to go and get my tea, and milk, he just brought me a pot of hot water. Then I found that there was another tea collection that had Earl Grey and I could stop trying to choke down the Lipton's. Then I had to ask for water specifically. My french toast wasn't bad, and it came with the full breakfast buffet so I could add as many blueberries as I wanted to. Back up to my room and had some time to catch up on email before I headed down to the lobby at 9 to meet Min. We walked over to Clark, stopping for some tea along the way, and had a fast day of working on SPECTRE. I had lunch with him and Aaron (a good made to order tuna sub in the cafeteria) and also popped upstairs to help Sonia test the workshop set up for the next day. Got a short power point to cover a module in my session as well. Found out that the museum was closed Mon and Tue, so Sonia couldn't go. It was chilly and threatening rain when I got up (thunderstorms during the night), windy during the day (lots of interesting sound effects inside buildings), and then hot on the walk back to the hotel at 5:30. I just had time to drop my stuff, wash my face and then head back downstairs to meet up with Rai, Sonia, and Ron for dinner. I had to laugh when Rai started describing the cuisine of the place we were to go and it turned out that we were on our way to Woodberry Kitchen. :) Only bad part was that we were upstairs, but on the other end of the balcony this time, at a table for 6 since Mike joined us as well. Amazing food again, the cheese plate was great, the chicken+biscuit and kale and carrots were amazing, and the chocolate sherbert had me rolling my eyes and checking out while I savoured it. Back to the hotel at 9pm, and I managed to finish up the coding with a tip via email from Min, and then caught up a bit with email and some videos I'd saved up to watch. Have to meet up to walk back at 7:30, so an earlier night tonight.

Tuesday April 5, 2011

Gah, slept horribly. I kept waking up every 5 to 10 minutes after 5am, worried that my phone alarm wouldn't go off and I'd miss the meet up time. Once I got up, I had lots of time to get packed up and downstairs and checked out (zero balance folio as JHU paid for my room for me, sweet!). We walked over to Clark and found that the workshop wasn't giving us breakfast, just a mid morning snack, so we walked back out to the coffee shop and picked up tea and food. Eating while setting up in front of the workshop participants was a bit awkward, but we got everything set up and started only a little late. The room set up wasn't idea for me, I had to range around the room to see everyone's screens to make sure they were following along. We also had quite a few crashes. :/ Overall, it went well though.
It was raining as we walked across the way to the next building for Ron's lunch time talk, so my lugging my raincoat around paid off finally. Got to chat with Timothy for a bit as well, and Peter K was sitting next to us as well. Min and Aaron came as well. It was useful for me to attend as well, it's always good to get the executive summary of my projects. Back to the workshop room, and one more hands on session. Then I gave a quick demo and Ron did one as well and then we were done at around 5pm. I went downstairs to work with Min a bit longer, and we finished up the project we'd started the day before. It was close to 6pm, and Sonia had headed to the airport and Ron to his group dinner, so Aaron, Min and John took me out to Niwana for sushi and Korean food. My chirashi took ages to come (they were almost finished eating) but the shrimp shumai was delicious and some of the sashimi was amazing. We had green tea ice cream, but then time caught up with us and Aaron offered to drive me to the airport at 7:45 or so. A quick drive later and I was there well before my 9:25 departure, only to find that my flight was delayed to 9:40. Just a metal detector at security, and no line at all, and I had time for a lovely Manhattan at a bar near my gate, the (ri)^1 whiskey was lovely. Bit of a bumpy flight, and I was in a middle seat somehow (had checked in via phone at lunch, but didn't see my seat assignment then), but the two ladies on either side of me were very quiet and I just read during the hour long flight. I'd convinced Cris to come pick me up, the two rides today saving me from covering $100 in taxis, though I paid for the tunnel fare out of Logan. Cris was a bit late, but it was nice to stand in the crisp air for a bit.

Back to my diary page.