Thursday, October 30, 2003

Los Angeles - Day 6 (Thursday)

This will probably be my last post from sunny (and sometimes smoky) California. I am off to have lunch and then will be leaving the convention centre and the PDC for the last time. While it has been tiring at times I have enjoyed experiencing the conference and learning about all the new Microsoft technologies that are on their way. On the other hand I am also read to go back home in order to see Shannon and Emma and all my friends.

So...what did I get up to yesterday? Well the conference was pretty much the same as every other day but as you probably know last night was the attendee party at Universal Studios. The party was lots of fun but the time went by way too quickly. By the time our bus arrived at the park it was already 8:00 pm and we only had until 11:30 to enjoy everything. First stop was food. I wolfed down a burger and fries and then was ready to tackle some rides.

The first stop was a haunted house based on the Mummy. Shannon would have especially liked this since there were people in there that would jump out at you. Next (after grabbing a free beer on the way) was Shrek 4-D. This was basically a glorified movie that takes place after the movie left off. Besides just watching and hearing the movie though we also were in seats that moved and vibrated, blew air on you and sprayed water on you. It all accounted for a very realistic and fun experience.

Next it was off to the backlot studio tour of Universal Studios. While interesting the tour was in the dark and it took 45 minutes which cut into my time to do other rides at the park. In hindsight I probably shouldn't have done this tour. Oh well.

After the tour the next ride was Back to the Future. The line was sort of long for this ride so I grabbed a free Cinnabon and beer for the wait. By the time I was out of Back to the Future it was 11:00 pm. With 1/2 an hour left I was hoping to get to do the Terminator 3D ride but by the time I got there it was closed. By now most of the park was closing too so all I had time to do was get another beer and get a few gifts from the souvenir store. They also had free carnival type games I was hoping to play so that I could try to win a big stuffed animal for Shannon. Lots of people were leaving the park with Scooby-Doos etc but not me. :-(

It is now noon here in LA. I am going to grab a quick lunch and my last smoothie and then head off to the Warner Bros studio in order to catch their last tour of the day. Tonight I hope to walk around Beverly Hills for a bit and then find somewhere nice to have my last meal.

Thanks for reading. More pictures will be posted once I get back to Ottawa.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Los Angeles - Day 4 (Tuesday)

Man I am tired! I have been getting up before 7:00 all week and it is beginning to take its toll. I am going to try going to bed early tonight since tomorrow will be a long day.

There really isn't that much to talk about today. I had another full day at the PDC which pretty much meant sitting in hour after hour of presentations and eating too much. I did get the chance to try out riding on a Segway though. This was a pretty fun experience and a very different feeling.

Tonight also happened to be opening night for the L.A. Lakers. The Staples Center just happens to be right next to the convention center so on the way out of the conference tonight the Staples Center was all lit up in blue and there were search lights everywhere. The streets were packed with cars and people and definately had quite a Hollywood look. Too bad I couldn't actually get in to watch the game.

Tomorrow is the party at Universal Studios. This should be a lot of fun so I'm sure I'll lots more to share tomorrow.

BTW...Today's picture is of teh brand spanking new Walt Disney Performing Arts Center. This very unique building was designed by the same guy that did the Guggenheim museum's in New York and Spain.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Los Angeles - Day 3 pt. 2

Well the rest of the afternoon pretty much involved sitting in a bunch of sessions convering ASP .NET and the future of web services. As usual there was a plethora of complimentary drinks and snacks vying for my attention as well.

After the sessions were done for the day the Expo Hall reception began. This reception was basically a way to get all the attendees together in the Expo Hall to enjoy free food and booze and to hopefully mingle and smooze for a bit. I stuck around for a while but after a little over an hour of looking around decided it was time to catch the bus back to the hotel.

PDC By the Numbers:

Number of females found in a room of 7000 attendees: 100
Number of Starbucks coffees consumed per hour: 6999
Number free t-shirts received: 3
Number of pens received: 3
Number of pens with a koosh head: 1
Number of paper pads received: 3
Price of a Microsoft teddy bear: $10

Monday, October 27, 2003

Los Angeles - Day 3 pt. 1

It is now almost 1:00 pm and I am half way through my first day at the Microsoft PDC. So far today I sat through the keynote address from Bill Gates and others as they unveiled Windows Longhorn for the first time.

What else have I done? Well I woke up at 6:30, caught the shittle at 7:00, had a hot breakfast, had a Krispy Kreme Donut and had a hot lunch. BTW...all of this is included in the price of the conference so I trying to make the most of it.

I only have 30 minutes until my next session so better get back to getting more free stuff.
Los Angeles - Day 2

Well, what another full day! As my only full day in L.A. without a conference to go to my plan, along with Rebecca and Stefan, was to see all of Los Angeles in one day. Yes, one day! In order to achieve this feat we booked ourselves on the "grand tour" of L.A. This 3/4 day bus tour managed to show us most of the sites and was worth the money. Here is a quick run down of the sites I saw. Marina del ray, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Beach, celebrity homes, Beverley Hills, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, plus more!

So the bus tour showed us lots of the city but let me tell you about the rest of my day...

We were dropped off at the LA convention center at around 3:30 in order to register for our conference. First of all, the LA convention center is huge. No, you don't understand, it's HUGE!! How can I make you realize the imense size of this place? OK nevermind just believe me when I say huge. Our registration included the obligatory t-shirt plus a nice lap top bag that was packed full of promotional goodies including a fairly beefy book. Today was the pre-conference so it wasn't very busy but we spent our time looking around in order to get acquainted with the building. Now it was time to catch the shuttle bus back to our hotel.

Once returning to the hotel we dropped off all our stuff in our room and then went back downstairs to catch the limo to Beverley Hills. Yes you heard right...our hotel includes complimentary limo service to anywhere in Beverley Hills. Tonight we decided to go back to Rodeo drive in order to check it out more closely and to find somewhere for dinner. First of all, our limo dropped us off at the Beverley Wiltshire hotel which is the hotel in Pretty Woman and right next to Saks Fifth Avenue where Winnona Ryder was arrested for shoplifting. From the hotel we walked around the Rodeo Drive area and checked out all the stores. Shannon would love this place!!! Thne stores are pretty pricy but from what I saw they all had some very nice and trendy stuff in them which at the very least be fun to try on. Do you want to hear something odd? Beverley Hills is clean. After walking around for a bit we began to notice that the streets were absolutely clean. Not a single piece of garbage anywhere, no gum stains, no grafitti. It was very odd to see such a clean city. I guess it was one of those you had to be there experiences.

Spirit fingers!! Let me see those spirit fingers!!! Can you tell what movie I am watching right now? These are spirit fingers.

Well that pretty much brings me to now. I am in bed typing away and getting ready to go to sleep. I have to be ready to leave at 7:00 am tomorrow in order to get to the convention center on time to have breakfast before Bill Gates talks to us for three hours. More on that tomorrow.

Good night. ;-|

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Los Angeles - Day 1

Welcome the first installment of my blog while in sunny Califronia for the Microsoft PDC. So without further ado let me begin...

My day started at 5:00 am in order to catch my 7:15 am flight from Ottawa en route to Los Angeles via Chicago. I got my first glimpse of the new Ottawa airport this morning as well and was thoroughly impressed. For this first time Ottawa actually has an airport that most other cities of its size already have!

Well enough about the airport, guess what else happened today? Both of my flights left on time and arrived on time or early!!! Cool eh? Also, en route to L.A. our plane flew over the forest fires currently blazing justg outside the city. I could actually smell the fire in the cabin and the entire sky turned orange-red for a few minutes. Just a little bit eerie.

After arriving in Los Angeles I was greeted by a warm and hazy day. I promptly found a cab and made my way through the notoious L.A. traffic to my hotel, the Park Hyatt. This hotel is absolutely amazing and I feel a little out of place. Every car that drives up is either a BMW, Lexus, Mercedes or Porche. The service is amazing though and tonight I am taking care of the complementary show shine service.

After checking in I quickly changed as I was eager to start exploring the city. My plan today was to find a bus and make my way the Santa Monica pier about 8 miles away. From Santa Monica my desire was to rollerblade to Venice Beach along the Ocean Front Walk. The bus ride to the beach took about 30 minutes. I first walked along the beach for a bit and dipped my feet in the Ocean. I then put on my rollerblades and started my 1 mile trek along the ocean to Venice Beach. I wasn't sure what to expect in Venice Beach but wasn't disappointed. This place is a hippie haven and has street vendors selling everything imaginable. I picked up some cheap t-shirts and a blanket while there along with plenty of people watching.

By now the day was wearing on so I decided to start my blade back to Santa Manica in order to catch the bus. Before getting on the bus however I decided to walk a bit in order to find a pharmacy in order to buy some toothpaste plus some snacks for the week.

After getting back to the hotel I finally met up with Stefan and his wife Rebecca. All three of us decided visiting the Sunset Strip would be a good way to spend the evening. I had a good time in Sunset Blvd. There were lots of ultra trendy clubs with even more limos parked in front of each of them.

This now brings us to the present. I am currently sitting in my bed typing away while watching VH1. Tomorrow is a full day of touring the city so I am sure I'll have a lot to write about tomorrow night.

Good night.

P.S. Remember to turn your clocks back tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Hello! It's been a while since my last post so I figured I should write a new entry. Work has been extra busy this week since I am leaving for Los Angeles on Saturday for a week. I am going for the annual Microsoft Developers Conference which usually attracts well over 4000 software geeks from all over North America.

While is Los Angeles I also hope to find some time to see the sights and generally have a good time. I have already booked a full day bus tour of the city and am hoping to squeeze in a tour of the Warner Bros. studio as well.

While there I will be taking lots of pictures and will try to make regular posts here in order to keep everyone informed of my daily activities. > Miniguide > Los Angeles Overview