Salt Lake City, 2007

The NA-MIC all hands meeting was scheduled to be held in Salt Lake City again, though at the Marriott City Center instead of the Monaco, and I scheduled my flights so that I could get a bit of skiing in.

Tue Jan 9/07

In order to take advantage of a deal from Park City, I'd signed up with the web site for a voucher that would net me a free lift ticket in conjunction with my same day boarding pass. This meant a 7am flight from Boston to Salt Lake City in order to get there in time to hit the slopes for the afternoon. I got up at 4:30am, kissed Cris goodbye, and just had time to scarf down a quick breakfast before the taxi arrived. My skiis went in the passenger compartment, boot bag and suitcase in the trunk, and backpack and purse on my seat. The driver wasn't too chatty, but was friendly enough. Got there in good time, used my printed out boarding pass and just checked in my skis and the suitcase, put my purse in my backpack and carried on my bootbag. Security was quick, but I had a long walk to my gate, Delta's tucked away in a corner of the terminal. I kept an eye out for Dennis but didn't spot him before we boarded. I figured that he'd snuck onto first class while I was grabbing some water. I was in the very last row at the back, had a ski family across the way and in the alise, the dad put my ski helmet up for me when it wouldn't fit under the seat. The guy in the middle lives on an island just off the coast of NB, and was going to LA. If he wasn't American, I'd have suspected we were related, as he reminded me a lot of Dad's brothers. I tried to snooze, but was mostly unsuccessful. I ended up finishing my book (Cartomancy) as we were taxiing into the SLC gate. The flight was pretty smooth, but I only got out of my seat once. Seat back video screens let me keep track of where we were and how fast we were going, etc., but the most interesting thing was that we were still at 4000ft altitude when we landed.

We were a little early, actually, and had to wait for our gate to be cleared by the previous plane. I was a bit antsy, but was able to get out eventually. I made it to baggage claim and my stuff came out quickly, and I got the voice mail from Dennis saying that he'd missed the flight. I also got a couple of text messages from Andy saying that he'd be arriving at 6pm. I went straight to the Enterprise desk and got my truck - I'd signed up for a midsized SUV, but the guy who got there just before me rented three of them, and they had to "upgrade" me to a Suburban. :/ It was *huge* I was not impressed, but was too worried about the road conditions in the mountains to downgrade. The clerk told me that it had fuel efficiency mods and should be better than the SUV I ordered, but I was dubious. He did recommend that I go to Deer Valley instead of Park City or the Canyons when I mentioned that my free pass was good at all of them, so I decided to head there. It was easy to navigate there, the signs were good. I had to go through Park City the town in order to get to Deer Valley, and the parking lot was pretty full at the lodge where I parked. But it turned out that there was a parking lot shuttle that ran quite often, and I was able to jump on the open wagons towed behind a truck after I changed into my ski pants and put on all my layers. It was sunny and hovering around freezing, I had my sun glasses on, but utterly forgot my goggles and helmet in the car, since they were in my backpack. I was able to not fall all day though, and it was warm and clear so I didn't need the goggles either. It was great, the resort has about four peaks inside of it, and is mostly all blue runs. I did a green to start, and then made my way over to the middle peak, sking over a shoulder. It was nice over there, so I stayed most of the time, it was less icy. Then I took a lift over the shoulder and skiied on the original side for a bit as well. I knocked off at around 4, after starting at around 12:30 or so, and scarfed down a luna bar before beginning the drive back - I was feeling a bit head achy, probably from not actually eating lunch.

Drove back downtown, about 45 mins, and went to the wrong Marriott first, and almost was checked in before they figured it out and directed me to the city center one. Packed up the truck again, drove around to get into the turn around for the correct hotel and unpacked there. The bellman took my bags and brought them upstairs after I checked in. I left a message on Andy's cell phone as it was around 5 at this point, and I headed back to the airport. He called as I was getting gas, and I was able to return the truck and find him at baggage claim before his bags came in (the airport is close to downtown), and we shared a cab back to the hotel.

He checked in and was going to find Will and Steve I think to have a quick meeting and/or supper, so I went off to clean up after skiing, and ended up taking a bath with the Lush hot java bar, which did my muscles a whole lot of good. I heard my phone ring as I was soaking but ignored it, calling Andy back after I was dry. We tried to find Cafe Med, a veggie place that the front desk called for us, but it turned out that it moved, and we ended up at Sage's Cafe at 475 or so Broadway/300, where I got a very delicious mushroom stroganoff. I had some tea as well, leaves packed into a filter bag and suspended over the cup. Andy had the nut burger, but it had macadamias in it so I skipped trying it. We shared the bruschetta and the asian lettuce wraps, which were also delicious. The walk back was much shorter. :) We got some tiramisu to go, and ate it in the hotel bar with Ron and co who we found there.

Wed Jan 10/07

The first programming day started off with breakfast at 7:30am (continental), then a Slicer 3 developer's tutorial at which I learned a bit, then dev feedback and project intros after a sandwich lunch. I had to do four intros and got a bit of stage fright - lots of people scattered about the ballroom. Then to work until about 6pm. I was exhausted afterward, and needed food, so we met up in the lobby at 6:30, Andy, Dennis, Alex, and a Spanish guy. We decided on Cafe Trang, and started walking the wrong way, working from Mike's address mentioned earlier today, then headed south back to the location we remembered, not seeing any cabs for the full 8 long blocks. Got to it and found it closed, moved. We called and got their new address, and then used Google SMS to get the number of a cab company to take us there, all five of us in one car. We were seated right away and the food was good, and we were able to walk back from there. We stopped in at the Red Door for a drink first, getting a table in the corner, across from the tall wine storage bins, at a metal table with a glass top and rocks on bars in it. Alex stuck with scotch I think, the rest of us, sans the jet lagged Spaniard, went with froofy drinks. I think we just stayed to 10:30 or so, and then headed back to the hotel to crash. I had a quickish bath, using a new bath bomb, but I didn't like it as much as my current favourites.

Thu Jan 11/07

This day was the all hands meeting, so it was all presentations, what he'd done the past year, and the new driving biological problems being presented, as well as some new collaborators. Deb got some water bottles along with the soda cans this day, but I still relied on my own tea, and gave Dan some as well. Lunch was a bit better, with some salads as well as sandwiches, and soup. A lot of us sat at the back and coded through most of the afternoon, and I was bushed by the end of the day again. There was a farewell reception for Bill at Murphy's Bar, but it was just going to be finger food, so Lauren, Andy, Dennis and Brad went to Ahh Sushi to get a meal beforehand. We had a lot of fun, getting a table much more quickly than estimated. Andy had the fishbowl sized beer, and Lauren and I shared sake again. She kept filling up my little glass, but I made her finish it. Then we went over to Murphy's, where I got a cranberry and ammaretto, though the barman didn't recog the blood and sand I asked for, and I couldn't list ingredients, then he gave me a pina colada for some reason, and finally my drink. He didn't take away the extra drink, so we took it along to the table, but no one wanted to drink it. Sebastien tried to put some good music into the emusic juke box, but they turned it off for Will's speech for Bill. I talked with Noby and Simon about skiing for a while, Noby was three sheets to the wind, it was fun. I had a chambord and sprite as well for something to hold onto. Andy tried to get a group together to go dancing at The Hotel, but it ended up just being him and me, and we got side tracked into Red Door again. He made a beeline for two girls in the corner by the monkey shrine, but talked to me once they left. We were both pretty tipsy by this point, as he'd had two huge long island iced teas at the bar, and we had another cocktail each at Red Door. The saketini wasn't as good as I was hoping for, too light on the lychee and strong on the aquavit I think. We made a quick detour to slide on the skating rink - it had snowed with a vengeance that day - and then joined Jim and Bill in the bar for a glass of water before going up. Straight to sleep again, as it was late for the 8am start time.

Fri Jan 12/07

I was tired, but had had enough water to not be hungover (plus the drinks at Murphy's were weak). Down for breakfast at 7:45 and had a frustrating day of coding - hard to collar people for help, no success on my main project, but squashed a few other bugs (ie one that Andy put in my stuff). Lunch was simple again, sandwiches. No snacks for coffee break. Knocked off at 3 and had Enterpirse pick me up to rent the car for the weekend. They tried to put me in a Stratus, with $10/day for the ski rack, but I took the upgrade to an SUV for $15/day instead. Back to the hotel, got my card key set up to allow garage access ($12 to self park), changed, and called Dennis to head out to Brighton for night skiing. It was bloody cold, they gave us $10 off the lift ticket because they closed the Crest Express when it hit 0F - I went up the other lift first my mistake, and then up the Crest once before they closed it. Dennis went off by himself, I found Andy and Sonia after a while. He led us down a dark run at one point, but I bailed out. Still love the one that goes down to the right of the mountain. We tried to find Will on the beginner's slope but it was darker and we couldn't spot him. I went into the A frame lodge to warm up my fingers, and found the other SPL people sitting at a long table. I didn't hear what they were saying until I took off my helmet, and then found out that Alex had fallen on his first run and hit his head. He was being treated for a concussion and memory loss and was taken to the hospital in the ambulance that was down by the lodge. Raul went with him, but everyone was pretty somber. They decided to do one run to end the night on a high note, and I rode up with them. I peeled off at the top though, and ended up finding Sebastien and Sonia for a while. I went right to 8:30 and then met Dennis in the bottom lodge. Andy was gathering people as well, and he and Sebastien and Will and Sonia all left at the same time as we did, and we agreed to meet at Sage Cafe for dinner. We thought that it closed at 10, and Dennis and I got there at 9:30 and claimed a table for six after a bit of a wait. Turned out that the other car stopped at the hotel to drop off Sebastien, but the rest of them eventually showed up. Sonia had the mushroom stroganoff but I went with the vegatabilo picadillo, a pile of rice and tofu and veggies and black beans with a bit of carib spices. I couldn't finish the plate. We all had chai as well, to warm up. Drove back to the hotel, it was too late to hit the hot tub, as it turned out that Sage closed at 11 and we were the last ones out. We had a great waitress, she was very nurturing and glad that we were enjoying our meal. Had a hot bath using up another third of the hot java bar, and fell into bed again.

Sat Jan 13/07

We'd managed to convince Andy that we needed to sleep in a bit, and agreed to meet at 8:30 to eat. We cycled through a table in the hotel restaurant, and decimated the buffet. Alex was there and reassured us that he was doing okay. Apparently someone pulled strings to get someone to read his scan. He came up to Snowbird with us, but ended up taking the bus back and not skiing after all. I gave Pablo, a friend of Daniel's, a ride up and back. We got stuck behind the city bus for a while, but the slow speed was just right for the twisty road up the mountain. It was chilly again, around 7F or so. I switched to the old ski mitts that I've had for years, and did okay. We got to the slopes at Snowbird at around 10:30, and agreed to meet up for lunch at 12:30. I stuck with Dennis and Sebastien for most of the day, finding Andy and Sonia once, and Raul as well. I didn't take the gondola at all, though we bought vouchers at the hotel for $50 that we traded in for all access passes. Dennis paid for my lift tickets to repay me for the truck rental. Dennis, Andy, Sonia, Sebastien and I met up for lunch in the coffee shop, getting mostly pizza. D. shared his garlic bread, it was yummy and cheesy. I had a tea when I started shivering uncontrollably. I was fine by the time we started again, and we went over the Peruvian Express to the tunnel trhough to Mineral Basin and stuck on the green runs there. Dennis got a good picture of Sebastien as the latter sat on a snow bench at the coffee tent just outside the tunnel to call Andy and Sonia. My cell phone battery kept reporting almost dead as it got cold and then recovering to full as it warmed up. The Peruvian Epxress went through a cloud of snow making at one point, it was chilly and icy. The other side, in Mineral Basin, was much sunnier, it was foggy on the front side. At around 3pm, we headed back up and over to the front side. Dennis made a good decision and took the gondola down from the top, but Sebastien and I struggled down the hill - I didn't wipe out but came bloody close, litterally screaming down a stretch that was all ice. Then we descended into fog and it was miserable, with only a few feet of visibility. We eventually made it down and back into the cafe, and sat to wait for Dennis and Pablo. Andy and Sonia came soon after Pablo and we all ended up on the same parking shuttle back to the cars. Changed into snowboots as quickly as possible and then down the mountain again behind a row of cars.

We got back to the hotel in good time to make use of the hot tub, though I gave Cris a call before going down. The hot water + the pool was just what I needed, and the hot tub fit all of us comfortably. It had cooler jets coming out of the seats, but the wall jets were warm. A large family was in the pool and tub as well, but under control. Back up to the room to shower and change (wore my dress since I'd brought it, and warm tights to offset the frigid temps), and then down again to the lobby for the dinner run. We walked a few blocks to what I recalled as a Mongolian resto but turned out to be the Himalayan Kitchen, serving Indian and Nepali cuisine. We (Sonia, Dennis, Sebastien, Andy and I) were at the front to begin with, but the door was letting in cold air as a large group arrived, and we asked to move back. The temp was supposed to be set at 90 but it wasn't working very well. We finally moved, and had a fun meal as we kept teasing back and forth. I need to warn Cris about the space heater comments. :) The food was good, though mine was a bit borning (the aloo sag), Dennis' veggie balls were spicy, and Sonia's bean appetiser was spicier than she liked, so it got shared out. The naan was just right as well. But as we were walking to The Hotel, my stomach was starting to complain. The club was crowded and we weren't being let in right away, so I bailed out. Andy and Sebastien followed, we'd lost Sonia and Dennis on the walk back as they stopped in a restaurant lobby to warm up. Even Andy was shivering, it was frigid. We tried to get into the Red Door but it was packed as well, and went back to the Marriott to the bar. I bailed on even tea and went upstairs to nurse my sour stomach and start packing. I ran into a maintenance man in the hallway as I was trying to get ice, and he said that a ton of floors were out of ice, I should go up to 12, but I didn't have a swipe key to get up there, and made the mistake of not perservereing. I was asleep before 11 for once.

Sun Jan 14/07

I woke up with my knee aching and decided to bail on skiing. I hobbled down to the lobby and saw that Dennis wasn't kitted out either, so we both were happy to bail out together. We all ate together, table for 12, and then Sonia and Andy stayed for a bit to talk with us before heading out to Park City (they got new snow, but it was also really cold). Dennis and I got our ski bags out of the truck, and then split to pack and rest and met up again at 10:30 to return the truck (I read and iced my knee). I remembered to get gas, at the station right across from the Enterprise, and then they drove us back to the hotel at around 11. I finished packing and then met Dennis in the lobby to check out and check our bags with the the bellman and then get lunch. We decided on Sage and walked over. It was a bit crowded, we got there at around 12:20 and had to wait a bit. We got a sunny table in the porch area, and I ordered the crepe special and Dennis got the big mountain of stuff. All good, as always. :) We had to wait a little for our food, and got our bill with it, and were out of there by 1:30 or so for the walk back. We'd reserved an airport shuttle for 2-2:15pm, a bit early, esp. as I'd signed up for flight notification and found that our flight was delayed half an hour. We stood with the bellman (who looked familiar, like Jak a bit) under his heatlamp, it was only 17F so we weren't that chilly. :) The shuttle driver put our snow gear up on top of the van, with a net clipping them down. We stopped at the other Marriott and then right to the airport. Check in was quick, just checking bags, though it was annoying having to carry my bags to the xray machine. The security line was re-routed in a snake so it didn't extend down the hallway, but it was short anyway. Felt like I still had too much stuff, having to extract my laptop and the quart bag of liquids and take off my shoes. Got to our gate and settled in by a power outlet, wrote up my notes from the Clifton Park trip, and this one as well. Laptop lost power a couple of times, the power cord connection is finicky. The flight's delayed due to a late arriving aircraft, we heard, currently at 6:45 from 5:25pm. It's going to be a late night...

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