View from my room!

I’m here!  Or-LAN-doooh!  Florida!  …and the weather is just like Minnesota… that is if Minnesota was hot and sticky and a gazillion degrees warmer.  So, it’s kinda like Minnesota in late July. 

My flight was scheduled to leave Minneapolis at 6:56pm, and I even had been bumped to first-class… but rather than arriving here at 11:30pm and potentially having to find my hotel in the dark and in the rain, I decided to risk getting a standby seat on a flight that left at 1:30pm.  I got the last seat.  So the ride was cramped, but worth it. 

I coordinated with John Baker, a friend and TechNet presenter coworker of mine, to meet up at the airport.  His flight from Atlanta arrived just a little before mine did, so he and I are sharing my car rental.  We’re also both staying at the Courtyard.

Speaking of the hotel, I’m learning that it reeeally pays off to be a member of hotel award programs.  I’m “Silver” on Marriott (lowest of the “preferred”).  Originally, though, the hotel here didn’t have my membership number.  Easy enough to add, though.  However, the room they gave me was on the highway-side of the hotel.  Quite noisy.  Ordinarily I’m not too picky about such things, particularly as my usual hotel stays are only for a couple of nights, but I didn’t want to have to listen to highway traffic for a whole week.  A quick phone call to the front desk and a gentle reminder than, hey, I am a “preferred” guest <heh> did the trick.  And as I left for dinner, I made a point to thank the clerk again.  She was very nice.  My new room overlooks the pool.  :)  The picture above was taken only moments ago.

John, a former Atlanta co-worker of John’s (I want to say  his name is Julio, but I don’t remember… I am terrible with names.  I’ll have to fix that someday soon.), and I then were picked up by Harold Wong, (another TechNet teammate), and we went and had dinner at the Italian Steak house there (Capriccio Grill).  Also at dinner were Jay Brummett and Michael J. Murphy (two more of my TechNet buddies), and I finally had the chance to meet Keith Mazzuco, who used to produce TechNet webcasts for us and is now a program manager on that team.

After dinner we walked down to Pointe Orlando to check out where the clubs were that are going to be hosting the Jam Sessions as well as the Wednesday “IT Influencer Appreciation” party… and we ended the evening with drinks and live music at a fun little Mexican-themed place there.

Today I am headed to the convention center to register and get my conference goodies, and then I’m attending an MVP Engagement event at the Peabody.  This evening is mandatory training for all Microsoft Employees and TechEd Staff.

This diary entry is probably the longest one I’ll do… the week is going to be busy, and fun.. and I’m also going to be doing some video blogging while I’m here as well… so watch for future installments to have links to .wmv files.