GLS Day 1… well, more like Day 0

The conference itself doesn’t really start until tomorrow, but it pretty much took the whole day to get here, so I’m counting this as part of the experience. I’m typing this blog post while listening to a live free concert at the capitol building in Madison, right outside my hotel window. Apparently, there’s a summer concert series every Wednesday. Tonight’s theme is Russian composers. Freakin awesome.

Anyway, here’s my day in photos:

aerial mountains.jpg

The sky was super clear in Washington today and so the view from my window seat was spectacular. Here’s part of the Cascades.

aerial farms.jpg

This is a bit afterwards, and I’m not sure if it is Eastern WA or Idaho/Montana. I thought it was cool how you can clearly see the land divided into plots that all get different amounts of water and/or treatment. Some squares are further divided by natural land formations. Some squares are irrigated as circles, etc.

aerial east Rockies.jpg

Another cool shot from the plane. This one shows the rippling look of the eastern Rockies. Or at least, I assume they are the Rockies since just a bit before this were a bunch of big mountains. Surprisingly the Cascades were much more pronounced than the Rockies, but I think it’s because the Rockies are a more mature mountain range… I should note that I am not at all an expert in this stuff, so… 😛

aerial stripes.jpg

I thought it was odd how every single time I saw plots divided into long rectangles, every rectangle was North-South aligned. Look at it… they’re all parallel… Why is that?

Also, one of them kind of looks like the American flag. God bless America… the America of the Bizarro Superman parallel dimension or something…

aerial clouds.jpg

Finally, we hit some cloud cover. I think by this point we’re already in Wisconsin…

So, anyway, I was on a plane that went from Seattle to Milwaukee (and learned that it’s actually a shared plane and I *could’ve* used frequent flyer miles on it from Alaska Air if I had only known… grrr). Then I caught a connection to Madison from there. While getting off the plane in Milwaukee, I saw a woman who I thought was Liz Lawley, someone else presenting at GLS who was working for Microsoft Research over the summer. Having only met her once, I wasn’t quite sure it was her, so I text messaged Lisa Galarneau for her to give me Liz’s phone number so I could call and see if it indeed was her. Well, I never got a response from Lisa (who likely was dealing with her own traveling at the time). But I did catch up with Liz and her son, Lane, while waiting for the connecting flight! And it was her! 🙂

Anyway, we got into Madison, and it turns out that she was renting a car so she kindly offered me a ride into town (after I asked if she wanted to split a taxi). While dealing with the hang-up at Avis, we happened upon someone else from Microsoft who recognized Liz and introduced herself. She (Suze or something) went on to catch a taxi because I think she felt weird asking a complete stranger for a ride… though that’s practically what I had just done. 😛

While Liz and Lane were getting a car, I called Moses who offered an air mattress for me to crash on this week. As it happens, Moses is leading some teacher workshops and the conference organizers brought in some teachers and got rooms for them at the Best Western Inn On the Park. Well, some of them canceled at the last minute, and Moses was able to give me a room for tonight and Thurs! Get this… his reason for being so nice to me was, “Anything for a guildie!” Being in TerrorNova (the guild a bunch of Terra Novans run) definitely has its perks! (Which of course, has a sinister dark side… should I feel good about having cultural capital or am I part of an elite? Do I actually have academic access or is Moses just being a really nice guy? 😛 )

capitol2.jpg

This is the view I had after leaving Liz and Lane’s hotel lobby. Wow. [Note: if you save the image, notice I misspelled capitol and am too lazy to change it.]

concert1.jpg

I noticed a whole bunch of blankets in the park surrounding the capitol building.

concert2.jpg

Then I noticed the stage. Must be a concert tonight or something! But I had to check in and then register first…

room1.jpg

Yep, nice room. I got an extra bed if anyone needs a place to crash. 😛

viewfromroom1.jpg

Here’s the view from my room. Nice!

dinner.jpg

As it happens, a ton of booths were set up with food from local establishments. I got a pulled pork sandwich… Don’t remember the name of the restaurant, sorry.

viewfrom8thfloor.jpg

I decided to see if I could get rooftop access or a good view from the top floor of this hotel. While I was wandering around upstairs, a nice cleaning lady asked what I was doing and when I told her she let me into a room to take a couple of photos. Hey, nice people here! Anyway, that’s the best shot I got.

mlksolo.jpg

On the way to the conference registration, I noticed that they practiced carbon freezing on MLK, Jr. before the Empire did it to Han.

<Conspicuously missing photos here>*

waterskiing1.jpg

I finally went to the Hilton to register and check out the venue. After I got checked in, I went outside and looked at the lakeview. And I happened to see a bunch of waterskiers practicing. Neat!

viewfromrooftopgarden.jpg

Here’s the view a little farther out on the Rooftop Garden at Monona Terrace. Notice some dude in front of me checking out the GLS program. Heh.

swag.jpg

After getting back to my hotel room, I thought I’d photo the schwag. That phone holder is made out of recycled billboards. Hey, cool. [While posting this, I learned that it is also spelled swag. But never shwag… which is what the filename is, so uh… edit it if you save it. 🙂 ]

Concert getting started now…

concert in full swing.jpg

And in full swing…

Well, that’s good enough for now… Laurie called me and said that she missed her connecting flight in Chicago. Ah well…

*Sorry, no photos of people this whole day… I dunno, on the one hand I feel awkward taking photographs of people and on the other I always forget to take photos when I’m engaged in conversation.

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