Daily Archives: May 9, 2006

Tuesday in Savannah

Another day at the conference while Dawn wanders around Savannah.

Another breakfast sponsored by KeyTech. More breakout sessions. In the morning I go to the training and documentation swap meet. There’s a lot of talk about LMS’s and video capture software and RoboHelp. They give out a CD of the presenters’ training materials and SOPs and stuff. Towards the end I pipe up with another use for video capture software, which is to quickly record and document errors and send them to tech support. I’m pleased that the suggestion is well received. Three people ask me for my card and ask me to send them more info.

Sadly, I’ve stupidly forgotten to bring business cards with me to Savannah. I take their cards instead, and promise to get in touch.

Before that is one of the highlights of TAUG, the Ask TMA Resources session. Paul Gannon introduces Tony Orlando, Paul Sanborn, Tom Brantigan, and Edi Dor. They first take questions from cards that we’ve handed in and Paul Gannon has sifted through. Then they take questions from the floor. As usual, most questions are directed to and handled by Tom Brantigan.

Staci Dixon from Corenet Global asks a couple questions. Then Wes Trochlil from Effective Database Management. Then Victoria Corbett from the ABA. Then Ron Moen from the American Management Center. More people, I think, but those are all I can remember off the top of my head.

At lunch, again sponsored by Syscom, I have a small incident while going through the buffet line. Just past the coleslaw, potato salad and pasta salad, but before the burgers and hot dogs, there’s a chafing dish of baked beans. There’s a serving spoon for each side of the table, and as I’m putting our side’s spoon back and moving along, I knock the spoon against the other spoon. The other spoon goes sliding sideways, slowly sinking into the beans before I can save it. I fish it out and hold it with two fingers, looking for a napkin or paper towel to wipe it off, or at least a spoon rest to put it down. But neither is available. I look over at the tables, but there’s only linen napkins. So I just put the dripping spoon back in the beans, warning the people in line behind me about danger spoon now, not to touch it. A moment later a server comes by with more hamburger buns, and I tell her that some dolt has dropped the serving spoon into the beans. The people in line all laugh, knowing that I’m the culprit.

In the afternoon I go to a session on XML standards, because (a) Tom Brantigan is there & is very excited about this topic and (b) it’s about not just XML standards but XML standards specifically for the healthcare profession. But it turns out to be a great waste of my time, but I’ve made the mistake of sitting up front so I don’t want to make a spectacle of myself by leaving in the middle. It’s all presented at a sort of high strategic level way above my poor brain and skills. I thought maybe we’d learn some code. Parag and Dwight are both in attendance, and afterwards we discuss, and they rave about it and seem surprised when I tell them I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

For dinner, Dawn and I join in for the dutch dine around, picking the Italian place, il Pasticcio. We’re supposed to meet Lori McCarthy in the Westin lobby at 5:45, and we’re on time but she’s late. There are various TMAR people holding green signs with restaurant names on them, but our il Pasticcio sign lies solemnly on the table for a while. Finally Lori arrives, and while she’s getting other people together, I take charge of the sign and hold it high above my head. And I continue to hold it up and show it, like Sally Field in Norma Rae. And continue as we board the trolley, and continue as we sit there for a while. I ask people if they’ve seen Norma Rae. Some laugh, while others are weirdly perturbed.

At the restaurant, the hostess at first mistakes us for the Faircloth party of eleven and seats us in a private room downstairs. She soon figures out her mistake and hustles us back upstairs, just as the elderly Faircloths trudge down the stairs to the room we tried to steal from them. We get seated at tables pushed together in the middle of the dining room. I’m on the side of the tables with booth-like seating, so that I’ve got two people to my right and four to my left.

It’s actually Dawn to my left, and the very cool Jan Golding of Girl Scouts USA on my right. Across from me is April Manning of TMAR, and to April’s left is Lori. Lori is a total Italianophile and goes to Italy like four times a year or something, so she’s in charge of ordering the wines. Mostly everyone goes along with the merlot, but Dawn & April & I share a single bottle of pinot grigio before switching to the red, until the restaurant runs out of bottles of the merlot. It’s a grand and wonderful meal and time. We expect to pay for our share, but, when the check arrives, Lori ends up picking up the whole tab. We protest, but she insists.

Back at the hotel, in the lobby, we see Libah Grossman of Votenet Solutions. She’s sitting at the piano, playing and singing, with Mike from the IBEW next to her. We stop to listen.

She’s singing very softly, and it’s hard to make out what she’s singing. And I don’t recognize the music, but it’s lovely. She’s clearly looking at something in front of her, so I go around to see what book she’s playing from, like she must have found sheet music on the piano or in the bench or something. But turns out she’s playing from a hand-written sheet. When she’s done, I ask her, and she explains that it was something that she herself wrote. She then proceeds to pull out of her bag a book, an edition of the Hebrew psalms. No, seriously, actually in Hebrew. And then she proceeds to sing a few psalms, in Hebrew, to music that she again has written.

This is all totally blowing me away. She asks if I know Psalm 50, and of course I do not. But I do know Psalm 55: Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then I would fly away. That and Psalm 38 got me through some dark days in Atlanta in early 1996. So she takes a shot at Psalm 55, explaining the Hebrew to us along the way. Apparently, dove is similar to Jonah in Hebrew.

An amazing evening.