It’s been a quietish week in these parts, largely because I was offline for large swaths of last week doing things out in the world. The biggest of those things involved a quick visit to the midwest metropolis of Columbus, OH, where I spent most of two days sitting in a room with a bunch of IT people, who were having difficulty coming to terms with the idea that if one is interested in future-proofing systems for the next decade or two, terms like hierarchical database architecture and IBM 3270 screens probably ought to be purged from one’s vocabulary.
It was an interesting experience, to say the least; beneficial in the sense that I got to meet a bunch of folks in person who I “knew” previously via phone and email, which is generally good for relations. I also got to know a bit more about the inner workings of this newish organization, both in terms of information infrastructure and they way things work politically. Still, kinda dull.
I hadn’t had the opportunity to travel for business in a while, and this was the first time with this organization, so I encountered the usual headaches involving transferring travel credentials and expense accounts across organizational boundaries, though having the experience that I do, I was able to sort it out. Also, approved flights from here to there were a mess, involving long layovers in odd places due to flight paths created via non-Euclidian geometry. So, rather than face such Lovecraftian airline horror, I drove – about eight hours each way – which is honestly about the same time investment as I’d have faced if I flew, counting all the time dedicated to security theater and such; also a net savings to my employer and a few more bucks in my pocket for mileage. A long trip, but generally a win.
I can tell that I’m largely out of practice for business travel – the reflexes are there, but I seem to have lost the ability to sleep in hotel beds without incident and subsist on takeout without dramatic effects on my body – of course, that could just be me getting old. Who knows.
The best part of the trip, though, was getting to spend Wednesday evening with some good friends I don’t get to see so terribly often who live in the area. The illustrious Elizabeth and Duncan served as my hosts and guides through a town that has changed quite a bit since I was there last, giving me a nice tour of Columbus’s German Village (including some great history of the region), and an excellent dinner at a relatively new eatery in the city, The Red Brick Tap and Grill, where we drank local brews, caught up socially, and consumed some excellent key lime pie, all while sitting below this wall treatment:
Which we all took as a good omen.
After dinner, being bookish folk, they treated me to a visit to The Book Loft, one of the largest independent booksellers in America, home to 32 ROOMS(!) of books for sale, including rare and autographed editions, and “the biggest collection of jigsaw puzzles in the midwest!” We spent quite a bit of time wandering around this maze of a store, enjoying the atmosphere of being surrounded by so many books in such an interesting place, and I think we each escaped with only two volumes apiece, which for us is pretty mild.
So, all in all, it was a pretty decent adventure, both in terms of work and life. I did spend much of the weekend recovering (like I said, my body is out of practice with this sort of thing), aside from taking in the second game of the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ fifth season; or at least the first five innings thereof, before everyone was just kind of wiped out by the crowds and the general early-season event management kinks and bailed early. Still, it’s an evening at the ballpark, which is always a reasonably good time.
That’s been Chuck’s life. We’ll now return you to your regularly scheduled browsing.