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May 12th, 2007

Minneapolis Trip—Day 1

I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm, which was set for 6:00, went off. I got up.

After checking the five-day forecast for Minneapolis, I packed, and then called Joe at 7:15 to make sure he was up and would be at my house by 7:45. He was. He did.

After he dropped me off at the airport, and as I was entering the American Airlines terminal, who should I run into just outside the door, but Mary Lou.

She was with her beau, Randy, who was kind of sexy, and we had a quick catch up—they were off to "the City," presumably the one that never sleeps not the one of light, though I never confirmed which.

I passed them later on on the concourse, and as Mary Lou went into the ladies room while waving to me, she stopped, stuck her leg out from around the corner, and I started singing, "Dahnt, dahnt, da-dah dahnt..." and she started doing the Can-can.

I'm guessing, since she didn't yell, "Ooh la la," it's the Big Apple to which they're going.



As fate would have it, I allowed about an hour to get checked in and through security, and it all ended up taking about 20 minutes. On top of already being early then, when I got to my gate, the departure time for my flight had changed from 9:20 to 9:47.

I started reading the book I had picked up at the library yesterday, which is our Mostly Social Book Club's book, that everyone but me has finished now. My goal was to have it read before we meet a week from Sunday.

This book, My Sister's Keeper is absolutely riveting. I haven't enjoyed a book this much since The Kite Runner, which I absolutely loved.





Due to our delay leaving Raleigh, my layover in Chicago virtually didn't exist. I got off the plane, stopped to buy a bagel, and when I got to the gate for the Minneapolis flight, they were already boarding Group 4. I was in Group 6.

By the time we landed in Minneapolis, I was at page 204 of the 400-and-some-change page book. As I said, riveting.



I caught the Super Shuttle, which was running a special ($24 R/T instead of $30) specifically for the conference I'm attending, and the first thing I found out was that my hotel does not have free wireless as I had thought it would.  Needless to see this was a major drag to the beginning of this trip.

You can login to the Internet on a couple of workstations they have in the business center on the sixth floor, which I did just to check my mail.



I walked eight blocks down to the Minneapolis Convention Center, which is where the conference starts bright and early (7:30AM) for me tomorrow morning. I like knowing where I'm going ahead of time.

On the walk back to the hotel, I stopped at Brit's Pub, where I had their "famous" Fish & Chips, which I preceded with a Bloody Mary. To be honest, I like Hibernian's Fish & Chips better, and they're an Irish Pub.



Once arriving back to the hotel, I walked about two miles (round-trip) in the other direction to find the Minneapolis Eagle, where I'll go later tonight. On the way, I passed two other gay bars, The Brass Rail, and The Gay 90s. Those two are very close to my hotel.



I got back to the hotel, took out my wallet to remove at least a $100 of the (double that) cash I'm carrying around like an idiot walking around a city I'm totally unfamiliar with, grabbed my laptop, and I headed over to the Panera's I'd seen on my walk to the Convention Center.

It's about two blocks from my hotel, it has free wireless, and it's open until 9PM. I turned on my laptop, and while it was coming up I went up to order a cup of coffee so as to not be using their free Internet service without really being a customer.

I reached into my empty back pocket and panicked a moment. I'm presuming I never finished the money removal transaction in the room and that's where my wallet is.

I sat back down, had a nice albeit short, instant message conversation with Robert, and then completed Thursday's and Friday's blog entries and posted them.

As I began devising this one, I looked up, and who should I see in the restaurant, but Heather Brautman, who graduated from the MS program last year. She, too, is here for the STC conference.

We caught up real quick, and after hearing my story she gave me two bucks to buy a cup of coffee. I'm drinking it now and finishing this entry-to-the-minute, which I'll post next, and then close this thing down for the evening.

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