I left the house on February 19th, early in the morning on my weekly Chicago commute. However, that week was different. On Thursday, I had a flight out of O’Hare to Washington, D.C. So instead of coming home as I usually do on Thursdays, I flew out.
The trip was mostly for work, though I did get some fun in when I could (more on that later). The main work thing I was traveling for was what we call the National Technical Conference. It’s a hoity toity title for 3 days jam packed with information and training for the tech support contacts out in the “field” (where field means anywhere other than the HQ). At any rate, I arrived in D.C. in the early afternoon, picked up the rental and drove out to Tyson’s Corner (where the company HQ is located… the company being USA Today, of course).
I was the first to arrive, and my job for Thursday and Friday was to make sure that everyone was on task and to fill any holes in the agenda. Fortunately, everyone seemed to be OK, and I only had to make sure some logistical loose ends were tied up.
Saturday night was fun, I went out dancing with some colleagues. We called it “girls” night out since I was the only “boy”. We ended up in D.C. at a place called Rumors. The music sucked, but it was fun to dance anyway.
Sunday night was the beginning of the conference. My group hosts and coordinates the whole thing so it was basically game on from that point until conference end on Wednesday. The whole thing went without a hitch. Much more smoothly than last year when we had to juggle the schedule the entire time.
Thursday was the day of the 8 hour meeting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hammering things out and getting consensus, but it took all day to get very little accomplished. Friday was more of the same, but we resolved most things and left with some tasks. We wrapped things up around 3:00 which normally would mean I could catch a 5:00 pm flight, but instead it meant that I was driving across town for some fun.
And by fun, I mean D&D eXPerience. It’s an annual convention that happens around the end of Feb in D.C. (and as one of the planners of the technical conference, you know it’s no coincidence that both events happen around the same time). At any rate I arrived just in time for a D&D Miniatures event featuring the new rules (DDM OP Presents). It went a little long, but I still had fun.
That night, I hung out with some of the Georgia crew. Clint, Shayne, Brandon and Mark. Then Sara Girard, a WotC staffer (who was only slightly tipsy) walked over to us and started talking 4e (that is 4th edition, the forthcoming edition of D&D). We chatted for a bit until Katie Page from the PR firm that represents WotC came over and begged us all to join them and Scott Rouse at Mackeys.
We all hemmed and hawed because Saturday morning was the time of our main event (the D&D Miniatures Limited Championship). They eventually wore our resolve down and we decided to make the trek to Mackeys. Once there Clint and I played darts while the rest of the crew sat and talked. Clint sucks almost as much as I do at darts (heck, he’s worse).
I had a creamy Guinness, which was the only reason I went to Mackey’s in the first place and listened in on the conversation between the WotC staffers and the Georgia crew. Thankfully Mackey’s closed pretty early so we were able to head back to the hotel and get enough sleep before the Championships.