Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I was a rock star for Halloween

During the last week of October I jetted off to sunny Orlando, Flahreeda to attend EDUCAUSE, a big higher education conference, and present a poster session. I have been planning for months to present some instructional design stuff I created for work. Can I just say - I am an instructional design rock star! At first, I wasn't sure how my in-house, distance education instructor training course would be received, but everyone seemed to be impressed and asked for more information. Yay me! I feel like a real grown-up now that I've presented something professionally at a conference. The trip was amazing - start to finish. Except maybe Tuesday, which was so freezing cold that I swear I got frostbite. It didn't help that I was outside all day long with just a short sleeved t-shirt and short sleeved hoodie. I swear, I bring cold weather with me wherever I travel. Like the time I hiked to Havasupai falls and it snowed for the first time in 50 years. Yay me . . .

Irregardless (and yes, I say this word on purpose), I had a blast! I stayed near Universal Studios and had dinner at the Bob Marley restaurant. I love me some Bob Marley, and the Jamaican fare did not dissapoint. I know it's so tourist, but I took a picture of the food I ordered: Jamaican veggie and meat patties (amazing I tell you!), yucca fries, jerk chicken salad, and Caribbean BBQ wings. In the background you see some Ting soda - a lovely concoction that tasted of grapefruit and sugar cane.
During dinner, there was a live reggae band called Mystic NRG - but they were less enthusiastic than their band name suggests. They were rather dull, actually. But whatevs, I was in Caribbean food/Bob Marley heaven.

Next up - all of these professional development conferences I have been to have some sort of soiree during the week. Most of the time, they are lame cocktail type parties with bland finger food hosted in some poorly lit Best Western lobby. But the peeps at EDUCAUSE know how to get down - well, as much as a bunch of drunk, pasty, nerdy, higher-ed professionals can anyway! They blocked off a huge section of the Universal City Walk and had buffet table after buffet table of tasty appetizers from four different restaurants as well as a huge dessert table piled high with creepy-looking treats (the best was a wormy cheesecake). For some odd reason, Universal Studios is full of people walking around on stilts and the stilt-people were out in full force that night. There were vampiresque voodoo queens and rasta brah's (not really sure how those two go together) roaming around the party scaring the crap out of unsuspecting party-goers (i.e. ME) preoccupied with watching everyone dance like fools near the jumboscreen playing videos of one-hit-wonders from the 80s. It was actually a really fun party, complete with a metal cover band that was highly enjoyable. Like the pre-puffy Bret Michael's once said, "don't need nothin' . . . but a good time."

I'm just now realizing that a lot of my travelogues have to do with food. Oh well - I went to Five Guys burgers while I was out there and I have to say, it is better than any other burger joint I've ever been to - the fries are absolutely unbelievable and they have the best Diet Coke in the whole wide world. They have them in SLC - excellent.I was also lucky enough to discover the poolside restaurant at my hotel and had a spectacularly tasty chicken sandwich on coconut milk infused Hawaiian sweet bread. Oh my. Oh. So good, I ate two. There aren't many things better than sitting poolside or oceanside in the sun eating some ono grinds (that's tasty food for all you haole's out there).
Yeah, I'll be hitting the gym this week. And the next. And pretty much every day from now on.


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