Friday, May 15, 2009

ASM General Meeting Blog Diary - Day Zero

Nothing doing with the American Society of Microbiology General Meeting today, but I did have to travel to Philadelphia. Man, what a trip. First, let me say that I hate Mapquest. I didn't pay attention when I printed out the directions, so I get half way and then I notice that every major city I have to go through, Mapquest has directed me around. So I have to get off one highway, get onto another, get off that one, get back onto the main one. And I have to do this three or four times. That is a pain in the tookus, especially when I'm traveling alone, the roads are crowded, and I have to now read directions and drive?

Ain't gonna happen.

Fortunately for me, I was just recently handed my BlackBerry, and it has an application called TeleNav on it.

TeleNav sucks.


So I figure that there is no way I'm going to read directions while driving through major cities, so I pull into a rest stop, I pull out my BlackBerry, open up TeleNav and punch in the address to my hotel. TeleNav tells me to get back on the road and all is good for the first 30 miles or so. Then, as I'm approaching the first major city on my route, it directs me to a highway that I've never heard of. I figure it knows what it's doing, so I follow it. About 10 minutes later and I'm freaking downtown! I'm not on the highway, I'm on the side streets of a major city, and it's freaking packed. Kids are graduating from college and there are tons of people in the streets, which means there are a ton of cars ... and my GPS is navigating me through this crap ... constantly telling me of accidents 5 miles up the road and that I may encounter some congestion. Whiskey! Tango! Foxtrot! What are the hundred cap-n-gown wearing kiddos walking on the curb, if not congestion?!?!?!!!!11!!!

So, I finally get back to the main highway (why it needed to take me downtown to get back on the major highway I have no freaking idea), and everything proceeds smoothly until I hit the next major city, and before I know it ... I'm downtown again! Jimminy Crunchy Fishsticks! So I spend another hour and a half navigating another downtown traffic mess.

I finally make it to Philly, and I'm about 10 miles away from the hotel. What should TeleNav do? Oh, and I expected this would happen ... it freezes up on me. Now I'm on the last stretch of I-95 and I have no idea where the heck I'm going. Oy vey! The hate, it burns my brain!

Despite TeleNav's best efforts to kill me I eventually make it to my hotel, to find out that they don't have a parking garage (Yah, I guess I should have checked that ... grr). And I also find out that I left all my forms at work on my desk! Call work, the secretary faxes them to the hotel (so I can hand in my tax exemption form), and I have to pay $24/day for valet parking (I better get reimbursed for that!).

Get my crap up to the hotel room and inquire about dinner. Fortunately there was stuff down the block, and I came across a nice little Thai/Vietnamese place. Ordered some Pho (it's pronounced "Fuh" as if you're about to tell someone to do something really nasty to themselves) and it was just like I remembered it, which was excellent*. I hadn't had Pho since graduate school (some five odd years ago at this point). Reminded me of some of the not-so-good 'ol days. Heck, the best part of those days was the section of town called "Little Vietnam" with the excellent restaurants, shopping markets, and bubble tea shops.

So, while the day sucked it ended on a good note. I just might have Pho tomorrow night too. So, that was Day Zero. Tomorrow, ASM Workshop day, where I have to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn to get a bus to get to Temple University for the class, because ASM isn't offering shuttle service tomorrow to the workshops. Grrr!

*If you've never had Pho, start simple ... flank steak and brisket. You can eventually move up to the tendon and tripe.


soil mama said...

sorry the drive sucked, but it gave me a good chuckle :) Stories likes this make me scared of the east coast...

soil mama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mad Hatter said...

"Ordered some Pho (it's pronounced "Fuh" as if you're about to tell someone to do something really nasty to themselves)"

I once heard a talk by someone working on a molecule called PhoQ. The audience snickered throughout the entire thing. Juvenile, yes, but pretty damn funny!