This is the story of my trip to Danvers, Massachusetts for the 32nd Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting. Accompanying me on the trip were co-workers Michael and Beth.
Uneventful afternoon flight to Boston (via StLouis). Arrived late at the hotel (Colonial Hilton, in, um, some town near Danvers, Mass.) I shared a room with Michael. Called LG to say "I'm here." "I'm here." Called Gunnar to see if he would be able to make it to town on Wednesday evening for touristing.
Found out in the nick of time that the clock in our room had not been adjusted for Daylight Savings Time. Had about 15 minutes to shave, shower, dress, pack up stuff in my bag, etc., in order to make it to the last shuttle bus of the morning over to the conference hotel (the Sheraton Tara Hotel, which I gather is no longer actually a Sheraton). I like peppering my stories with useful facts like that.
Registration, a meeting in the morning. Hung out in the terminal room, read some e-mail. Had lunch with Stu, Eric Miller, and Michael Mealling at some Italian place down the road. Had a minor adventure finding our way back to the hotel, as there was no place for literally several miles where we could turn around, and then when we finally did get turned around and travel back the several miles to where the hotel was, we (Eric) missed the exit, and we had to go a few miles in the other direction until we could turn around again...
Continued to hang out in the terminal room that evening until 11pm, except for a break for a late dinner at a little pub in the hotel (featured prominently in tomorrow's adventure).
No major meetings in the morning, so hung out in the terminal room. Found out Gunnar would not be able to come on Wednesday; but that was OK, as I had a good meeting Wednesday evening. Had lunch in the little hotel pub, where began the Great Credit Card Adventure.
I paid for lunch with my Jayhawk VISA card. When the waiter brought me back the slip to sign, the card wasn't with it. I didn't think this was strange; I figured they wanted to check the signature or something. After some time passed, though, and the waiter didn't come back to collect the slip, I started to wonder. Finally I got up to leave, and went to the waiter to ask for my card. He thought he had given it back to me. Uh-oh.
The waiter looked around in the restaurant for a while, but couldn't find it. I repeatedly reassured him that he had not given me back the card; I even emptied the entire contents of my wallet. Eventually he called the hotel security manager and explained the problem. The security guy told me they'd keep looking and I should check back in an hour or so. If they hadn't found it, he said I should probably call the card company and cancel it.
An hour later, the card hadn't been found, so I began a long sequence of phone calls to cancel the card and deal with getting a new one. Things got complicated by the fact that I was leaving in about 40 hours for Germany. The short version of the complication is that since they couldn't ship the replacement card until the next day (since it was late afternoon by now), they couldn't ensure that it would get to my hotel before I left. Ultimately we had to arrange for me to go to a local Airborne Express office where they would hold the overnight-shipped card for me on Thursday morning. This further added to the complication by forcing me to leave earlier Thursday in order to make the extra stop, and also to pay more to the airport shuttle service, for same.
The evening was better than the day. Finished up with all my phone calls and annoyance just in time to catch the bus to the IETF Social. The bus took us to downtown Boston, to the Cyclorama, where we had a few hours of free pinball, jukebox, bubble hockey, and a Velcro wall. Well, it wasn't really free, we had to pay for the social event, but once we were there everything was free. The Velcro wall was totally cool.
Back at the hotel, played Minesweeper until 2am. Decided it's a stupid game anyway.
Attended the MIME/SGML meeting in the morning. Had lunch at a nearby mall with Michael and Beth. Attended HTML Working Group meeting in the afternoon. Dinner with a number of HTML WG folks at the same nasty little hotel pub. (No problems this time, although I did have to spend some of the cash I was trying to conserve for my Germany trip.)
Had a long evening meeting with some HTML WG folks working out a new richer model for tables in HTML. Changes will eventually work their way into the HTML 3.0 standard.
Sometime during the day, had a message on the conference message board from the hotel security guy. They had found my now-useless credit card. :-(
Caught the shuttle to the Tara, had a quick breakfast, and a quick check of e-mail in time to catch the other shuttle to Airborne Express, and then to the airport. We took a very convoluted route to the airport through all kinds of weird side streets of Boston until suddenly we popped out at the airport. I was impressed. Hung out in the airport for a couple of hours before catching my flight to Chicago to begin my next adventure.