I left Battle Creek, Michigan at 6:30 a.m. for a connecting flight to Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie, my significant other, drove me to the airport and tried her best to reassure me the whole time. It worked, and the takeoff and landing were no problem for me. Halfway during my flight to Cincinnati, I turned to the person sitting behind me and told him it was my first plane ride. “Wow, you picked a bad one,” he said. I thought it was quite pleasant, if a little bumpy. “This is very rough,” he said. So, I guess my fear of flying is a thing of the past now.
The four and a half-hour trip to San Francisco was uneventful. Crammed into a coach seat next to the window, I simply tried to sleep. The breakfast served on the Delta flight wasn’t all that bad, certainly better than I was expecting, given all that I’ve heard about airplane food. The in-flight movie was Inspector Gadget, a movie I already own at home. Why, though, does the airline charge you five bucks to use a headset to listen to the movie? Hey, I paid for my flight, I can SEE the screen, but to actually hear it costs extra? Give me a break! So I ended up reading the first 100 pages or so of the latest John Grisham novel, The Testament. Grisham is a good writer, and this book, while not as good as The Client, A Time to Die, or The Rainmaker, is nonetheless entertaining.
Our flight actually got into San Francisco about fifteen minutes early, which is a good thing (especially since I’m a smoker and Mr. Nicotine was calling my name very loudly). Unfortunately, I was sitting in the last row on the plane, so I was one of the last people off. Then it was a twenty-minute or so wait for my luggage to come up the baggage claim. It was driving all the other travelers and me crazy, as only one bag per minute would slide down the chute! “Hey, hurry it up! I gotta get outside and have a smoke before I pass out!”
Someone told me not to take a cab from the airport, as it would cost $25-30. So on advice from others, I took a shuttle bus. BIG MISTAKE. Everyone else on the bus was from San Francisco, so the driver took them all home first, and again I was last off. I thought at first that it might be a good way to see San Francisco, which it was, but the ride almost gave this poor publisher a heart attack!
If you have never been to San Francisco, let me explain something to you: It’s very hilly, and some of the streets seem to go straight down! So our driver is barreling down these mammoth hills at 50 m.p.h, bumper to bumper with the car right in front of us! My right foot kept pumping the imaginary brake pedal in the backseat; it made me feel a little better, but it didn’t do much good slowing us down.
After three near crashes and two heart attacks on my part, the driver deposited me in front of my hotel, the Best Western Americana on 7th St. I had made it, alive, to San Francisco! But the fun was just starting.
Adam Karneboge was supposed to meet me outside the Delta Airlines terminal at the airport, but due to his flight delay, we actually ended up meeting at the hotel. After greeting him, I learned he took a pleasant ten minute cab ride from the airport, while I had taken the forty-five minute trip of death with an insane stunt driver.
After dealing with a rude guy at Best Western who checked us in, we met Paul, the only helpful person at the hotel. Paul was the greatest, and I hope he’s out there reading this. Paul, thanks much for all your help. You’re a great guy!
The Best Western Americana is located in an area where you’d be uncomfortable walking around while carrying a brand-new PowerBook G3. And our room left something to be desired.
My morning shower was quite an experience. Don’t get me wrong, I like a cold shower every now and then, but I like having a choice in the matter! When you’re forced to take a cold shower, you quickly decide which parts of your body requires the most attention.
No, I was not happy with the Best Western Americana hotel, for many reasons I can’t get into here. Needless to say, I’m no longer staying there, having moved to the Marriott hotel, and to a room with a beautiful view of San Francisco from my 35th floor window.
At the Moscone Center today, I finally got to put a face to some of the many people I’ve had correspondence with over the last few years. It was especially nice to finally meet Shawn King from “TheMacShow” (see our Day 2 picture gallery), who, like me, has to feed the nicotine beast. In San Francisco, you can’t smoke indoors anywhere, except your hotel room. Thank goodness this event is in San Francisco and not Boston in January, or I would have frozen my butt off. (Pun intended there!)
I hope to meet more fellow Mac writers tomorrow, as well as more of you. If you’re here at the Expo, keep an eye peeled for people wearing badges with a green ribbon. I’m one of them, so come up and say hi if you see the name Tim Robertson on the badge!