I am finally back from SES. I also feel like I’ve been hit by a train (also called the after conference cold which comes from killing your immune system with late nights and alcohol). But, I figured I’d blog about it while it was still fresh.
I got in Tuesday night after having visited some friends for the big Sopranos weekend. I met up with Trose at the airport and we headed to the hotel. In line for check-in, we met Andrea who I found out over the week is a pretty cool chick. Said a bunch of hellos in the bar after checking in (thanks Chris for buying 8 triple shots of Goldschlager at 3:30 pm for eight people upon seeing me) and also ran into seo loser outside. He backed up as he introduced himself (in jest of course) and we had a nice chat for about twenty minutes. I also had a nice talk with Elizabeth from SEW who informed me my site was down, watched me get a hold of my host within a few moments and get it back up.
Then, I saw Kim Krause Berg and saw her talking to Todd. I was excited to meet her after having exchanged a few emails with her and was promptly put in my place when I heard her ask Todd for an intro to “the wolf” (since she said it, I don’t need to link) and she walked past me to introduce herself to Michael (who was sitting next to me). I tap her, and upon receiving a blank stare in response, ask if she recognizes me. She takes a few seconds to realize who I am and tell me she thought I was blonde. I said it’s ok, I see my place (I so want a drink with you next time chick). She congratulated me on my listing on the hottest moms in SEM and I returned those congrats since she was also listed. (As an aside, I had colored my hair a week before SES, so no fading had taken place yet and it appeared even good friends were having issues recognizing me on sight – though my hair color has never been remotely near blonde.)
We had dinner that night (me, Todd, Greg, the video content whore, Trose and a sixth person who doesn’t like being blogged about) at a pretty great steakhouse no one can seem to remember the name of. Next, I ended up hitting the town after a business meeting (and after running into Thomas for a few minutes) in the evening with Frank, Greg and the Twitter whore (the botwah boys finally showed up to meet us after multiple promises to do so). Also met a nice guy named Patrick who I think came with the botwah boys whose business card I lost (ping me and I’ll give you a proper link). I got a blackberry message from the Guelph boys in town for the conference to meet up with them at Old Castle, did so and closed out the bar. I got in around 4 am and then slept through my blackberry alarm as it went off for two hours in the morning.
Still, I got up fairly early on Wednesday, was starving and met up with the Big Brown Box whore and we hit Old Castle again for lunch. Had a great conversation as always and then I headed back to the hotel to meet up for what was supposed to be a lunch meeting with Trose and Dennis because Trose thought I may be able to offer Dennis some helpful advice about a specific online sector. I shoved a nice piece of cheesecake into my stomach and talked shop with (and hopefully helped out) Dennis.
My business partner rolled into town Wednesday evening, we met up and had several drinks at the Castle again with the usual crew in the bar (where I also introduced two of the more important people in my online life) and then my partner and I headed to Del Frisco’s for a business dinner. Awesome meal and we had a bottle of Bollinger champage that I liked and thought tasted like apple cider. However, after being made fun of for saying that all week, I probably should have kept that theory to myself. ;-)
After dinner, we headed out for the night with Greg, the charity whore, Nils and Maurice (who are awesome guys I had the pleasure of meeting this week). Had a massive amount of fun, and then got a ping from the Guelph boys reminding me that it was John’s birthday and my presence was requested at Old Castle to buy him a drink. So, myself and the auto bury whore (this is getting hard – I am not hanging out with him as much next time until this link bashing is over LOL) headed there, had several drinks with the boys and ended up wandering home around five am.
Thursday I slept way in and accidentally missed the Women’s Luncheon which I really regretted, especially since I was really looking forward to seeing all of the women and attacking the seat next to my favorite woman in SEO, Christine Churchill. I attended a few business meetings and did some work (and also got a look at Dixon’s kick ass trophy). Then we (me, Jimmy, Nils, Maurice, Trose, Evan, John and Todd) decided lunch was in order and after Jimmy refused to do another meal at Old Castle, we wandered the streets of New York looking for a restaurant that John ate at last year that was “somewhere on this block or that block”. ;-) After giving up the search, we ended up heading to a restaurant named Brasserie. It was an odd place to say the least and I agree with John that their menu has “serious usability issues”. LOL.
We headed back to the hotel (at which point I finally saw Rand after exchanging text messages all week and never connecting, chased him down and almost tackled him at the end of the hallway) and about an hour later I met up with Tamar, Lisa, Rebecca and Jane to head to dinner (we were supposed to have one more person with us who couldn’t attend due to extenuating circumstances and was very missed). I also briefly bumped into Brett who I had seen briefly the night before as well and passed and said a quick hello to Andy Hagans – who I am giving an open dinner invite to at the next conference I see him at – especially since I still owe him for the San Jose incident. Anyway, these ladies and I are all complete facebook addicts and I’ve been “hanging out” with them via Facebook for months, but had never met them in person so, I took them all out to dinner.
I made a mistake when making reservations and we ended up without any as a result, so they were nice enough to not complain about eating at the Old Castle. ;-) We spent time discussing the new look on Facebook (we had mixed opinions). Yes, we really are geeks. Special thanks goes to Lisa, who upon hearing me say my first SEO conference was in April 2003, promptly responded to make me feel like an old hag by kidding that she was in high school at the time.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and ran back into Kim who introduced me to Matt McGee, who I was very excited to meet and promptly hugged when he held out his hand to shake mine. I also ran into HL and promptly introduced myself to him. Considering we met at PubCon and when he said his name, I instantly knew we had, I was reminded of this. And seeing that picture also reminds me that I owe Chris from Moniker a drink the very next time I see him for being forgetful of our conversation in the expo hall this week.
Jane somehow discovered the Hilton’s Choclatini and we had a few of those before heading back to the Castle. One of the guys at the bar who is a good friend of mine was blushing a bit when the “Facebook girls” all kept referring to him as “His Name Stupid Ass” due to a Facebook petition in reference to him. They also all mentioned a lovely domain name they knew I bought as a prank for him via Facebook as well. I’m thinking I’m getting a kick in the ass at some point in the future from him. ;-)
We went back to Old Castle, had several more drinks (thanks again Dave for locating Three Days Grace on the jukebox for me and to Brandy for the dances) and I actually called it an early night, leaving the bar at two am.
The next day, I had some business meetings to tend to and then I got to spend some time chatting with Chris and some of the other guys. I had lunch at the Hooters nearby with some of the guys from SEO Class. Then it was time to head to the airport, which is now “piece of shit LaGuardia” to me for the next few months.
It appears there was an issue, undisclosed to us at the time as to what it was, that was causing flights to be severely delayed. As I’m sitting there with Trose testing features on my new camcorder, I get an automated call from my airline that my connecting flight has been cancelled and that I will be stuck in Chicago (where I was connecting) for the night and was booked onto a 6:30 am flight the next morning from ORD. I called United Airlines to check if the issue was with LaGuardia or Chicago. They tell me the issue is Chicago. I tell them if I’m stuck overnight no matter what, I’d rather stay in New York, not go to Chicago, the supposed source of the problem. They book me on a ten a.m. flight connecting in Washington, D.C. with final destination being Tampa.
I asked United about re-imbursement for any expenses my unexpected overnight stay will incur and am given the canned response to contact customer relations when I arrive in Tampa. I bid Trose goodbye (we were already past security and sitting at our gate when I got the call) and head back to the Hilton, get a room for another night and meet up with Jimmy and Nils for dinner at AJ Maxwell’s Steakhouse. George blackberry’s me at this time to inform me the problem is LaGuardia, not Chicago, as LaGuardia only has one runway open and wishes me luck on my flight in the a.m. and almost immediately after, I see blackberry statuses of other people at LGA changing to “flight delayed” and “LGA sucks”. If I could have punched the guy at United, I would have. But, nothing I could do except try and enjoy my night and hope for the best in the morning. We have dinner and a bottle of some pink champagne. Next it was off to pick up Maurice and Evan and we headed to the Pink Elephant which was the most insane club I have ever been in. It was amazing. I had a fantastic time.
I got back to the hotel at five am, woke up at eight and headed to check out and grab a cab. I had no luggage, as since I had checked in prior to knowing I’d be stuck for the night, it was already on the plane for Chicago. My luggage also contained my blackberry charger, so it was dead by the time I got home and I was none too happy about having to limit my use after leaving the airport to conserve. I get to LaGuardia and see people *everywhere*. The security line was backed up around the corner and past the escalators. Everyone in the check-in line was complaining of flights being diverted or cancelled. Apparently, LGA only had two runways open that morning and a whole bunch of people from the day before needing to get home, in addition to those from the current day.
I finally get to the gate and we leave an hour after we’re scheduled too. We hit D.C. and I run through the airport to make my connecting flight, finally arriving home 16 hours after I originally was supposed to.
So, all in all, SES was great, I had a lot of business meetings, a lot of fun and know I’ll be over my hatred of LaGuardia and United soon. ;-)