I’m currently in Atlanta for the ANS annual meeting, ANS being the American Nuclear Society. This is my first time to one of these things, and over all I can say, “meh.”
My flights were OK, the hotel is nice (if a bit pricey with lousy internet service.) Thankfully I’ll be reimbursed for all of that, though it will take a couple months probably to get everything back. One funny thing did happen when I was trying to get my internet connection set up here in the hotel. When I entered my room number and last name the system said that guest “van der Hoeven” was not found in room 1046. So I called the front desk and was told that my problem was the fact that I stubbornly wanted to spell my name the correct way rather than “van der Hoeren.” I told them the correct spelling and they said they would fix it. A couple minutes later I called them again because it still wouldn’t let me connect. This time they had my last name as “van der Horeven.” I just said, “Fine, tell me how you’re spelling it and I’ll enter that.”
Last night I wandered around downtown Atlanta looking for some place to eat. As normally happens to me when I’m walking around a downtown area, I was approached by a panhandler. I don’t know, I guess there’s something about me that just cries out, “Kind-hearted sucker.” Anyway, this guy was actually pretty cool. He came right out and said, “Yeah I need money, I’m poor.” But he also said he just enjoyed interacting with people, and talking with them. Long story short, he offered to tell me a joke for a couple bucks. This sounded good to me, so we walked a couple blocks and he told me a dirty joke. It was pretty funny.
After wishing each other good luck we parted company and I found myself at a brewhouse/grill. I had a decent burger and noticed that my manager from Sandia was sitting at the bar. I joined him for a couple beers and talked about a bunch of stuff. It was nice to not be in a work environment. I also got to meet a group of people he knew who work at Oakridge National Lab. Seemed like nice folks.
Today was taken up by wearing a suit and listening to other people in suits talk about the industry. Not the most exciting thing to do. Though tomorrow I get to be one of the people talking, so that’s a little nerve-wracking. Public speaking is probably my least favorite activity outside of some elaborate torture scenario.
I do look good in my suit though.