Wednesday, March 21, 2012

IA Summit New Orleans 3 - Rain on My Parade

This day did not turn out as I was expecting.
It started out promising. I got a good 8 hours of sleep and laid in bed for another hour and a half before doing anything. This is a rare luxury in the life of Lydia. I read a little and looked up song lyrics and versions for some songs Woody the busker and I were trying to remember yesterday.

As much as I admire Billie for being mother of the blues, it's swingstress Ella who continues to be my inspiration. Her range, her tone, her utter musicality, her sparkling stage personality...what's not to love? Listen for yourself.

After a brief incident involving a certain hotel door refusing to open, I got my continental breakfast and by 11am I was on my way into town. I've about given up on the bus. It confuses me even at home when I'm familiar with the area. And I always seem to get to the bus stop right after the bus leaves. So I took a cab. The cab driver alone was worth the money. She was real chatty and told me the best place to get a muffuletta ("muffle-AH-tuh") (They're better here on the West Bank, she said) and a po-boy (Mother's po-boys are apparently world famous.) She also told me where to go for music and took me through the Warehouse district. I'm going to have to check out the "Hollywoof" (Howlin' Wolf) - maybe next trip when I'm not on business. I think she may have taken me the scenic route to rack up a few extra bucks, but I'm not complaining. She cued me in to Mother's after all. Best meal I've had since I got to New Orleans.

So about the time I finished up my debris & gravy ferdi and turnip greens (rather, reached the three-quarter mark and decided to call it quits) it starts beating down rain. I mean, seriously storming. Thus began a serious of rather poor decisions. Armed with my new umbrella, I decided I was invincible so I sallied forth.
In 30 seconds my pants were soaked through and my glasses covered in droplets. I decided maybe this wasn't such a good idea so I went back into Mother's. But I was torn. Registration had begun for IA Summit, the pre-conference workshop that I really wanted to attend was starting in an hour, and the Hyatt Regency was (I thought) only three blocks away. I just wanted to be on the other side of the storm and start into the conference experience. I couldn't get a cab, because my meal had cost me 19 bucks and ate right through my cab budget. I tried waiting it out for a few minutes, but somebody said it was probably going to get worse before it got better and it wouldn't likely stop for at least an hour.

I am a terribly impatient person, and also rather fanciful. I imagined meeting some friendly IA lady who happened to be my size staying at the Hyatt Regency seeing me all wet and offering to lend me some clothes, while the ever-so-helpful hotel staff popped my own wet clothes into the dryer. Galvanized with this vision, and tempted by the adventurous possibilities of a (possibly dangerous) jaunt through the storm, I sallied forth again. This time the bluster did not catch me off-guard. I deftly wielded my umbrella against the wild elements with one hand while carrying my root beer in the other. Ok maybe I used both hands. I was soaked through in half a block. My shoes were buckets by block 2. Then I started singing. Summertime. The storm was so loud, and the music had been locked up in me since yesterday. I just let it all out. At the top of my lungs in the Central Business District. Harried business people and travelers rushed around me, ducked under eaves, and gave me bewildered smiles. It was so liberating to be out there tromping steadily through the torrents and wildly singing the blues. I usually don't have the freedom to sing like that.

Fun as that was, I'm sure you can guess what followed. Bedraggled and drenched from the tips of my hair to the soles of my feet, I bust into the Hyatt-Regency. I couldn't quite reign in the music but I managed to reduce it to a whistle. I found the ASIS&T registration table and was met with a slightly bemused "May I help you?" I guess I looked a sorry sight. I got my registration packet and asked about the pre-conference workshop I was interested in. The lady's facial expression gave me a clue that maybe I needed to re-evaluate the situation. "I guess I need to go dry off a bit first, huh." "Yes, that would probably be a good idea."

Deflated, I started off in a random direction and was met by a hotel staff person. "Can I help you with anything?" "Yes, I'm looking for a place where I can sit and think without getting your furniture all wet." "No problem at all. There's a leather chair. Can I get you some towels?" "Yes, that would be wonderful!"

It took me a while to pull myself back together. I took off my drenched socks (wet feet always give me a cold) and surveyed the damage to my belongings. Luckily I was using water-proof ink in my journal. My books and papers are looking a little worse for wear, but at least everything is still legible. I turned on my phone and responded to a few texts. Talking to loved ones always helps me get some perspective.

Slowly, reality sunk in. The workshop started in half an hour, my IA fairy godmother had failed to appear, and  passing Intel workers (also conferencing at the Hyatt) were giving me a look that seemed to mean "Does that vagabond realize she is in the Hyatt-Regency?" Ok maybe that's just my imagination. But still, those Intel people look like a snooty bunch. I was momentarily buoyed as I started to notice the tattooed and trendy IA Summit attendees. At last, my first sight of the people I have been dying to meet for months! But there I was, huddled in a towel, socks and backpack contents strewn about me. I furtively tucked my IA summit badge out of sight.

There was no helping it. I did not have time to go to my hotel, change, and come back in half an hour. And I had not yet made any friends to make dinner plans with, so there was no reason to shell out another $30 to go back into town for the evening. I accepted defeat, packed up my things, visited the ATM, and hailed a cab.

It hasn't been all bad, here at the hotel. My clothes are drying, it's a toasty 80 degrees in here, and I was able to get my Google Analytics conversion goals set up for the GOMC Adwords campaign which starts in three days. Well, I have a major complaint about Google Analytics, but others have already expressed it quite eloquently. I took a nap and spent the rest of the afternoon surfing the internet. Again, rare luxuries in Lydialand.

Felicia Day is beginning to get my attention. I adored her in Dr. Horrible's, and some of my friends have been talking about the Guild. Then when she modeled for my favorite Steampunk clothier, Clockwork Couture, she was on my radar once again. Her new web TV channel Geek & Sundry looks promising. A spunky, geeky redhead, homeschooled, started college at 16... Hmm. Maybe I'll explore an alternate career as an internet star.

I'll definitely be rested and ready for the Intro to Information Architecture workshop in the morning. I also get to move to the Hyatt and meet my roommate, Mobina from Seattle. The best is yet to come.

IA Summit in New Orleans ||  1 - Getting There || 2 - French Quarter Buskers || 3 - Rain on My Parade || 4 - New Ideas, New Friends, & Bourbon Street || 5 - The Festival, the City, & the Way Home


  1. Awww! I got a mention in your blog!! How cool is that... Can't wait to see you too :)

  2. Sounds like another adventurous day, if not as idyllic. And Felicia Day is pretty cool. The Guild is very funny and of course Dr. Horrible's rocks.

  3. I saw the weather report on New Orleans last night with tornado watches and flood warnings. Did you need a boat in the end?

    1. I was pretty much swimming. Coulda turned my umbrella upside down and paddled down the street in it for all the good it did over my head.


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