Tuesday, 22 June 2010

On The Road Again...

So I find myself in Falls Church Virginia this week.  (Across the river from Washington DC on the outskirts of Arlington Virgina.)

I'm down here for some training and certification for a product called Autonomy Zantaz EAS.  Flew in Monday, got lost trying to find the hotel, and had my first training session today.

Virgina, or what I've seen of this small corner is an attractive state for sure.  Lots of mature trees everywhere, making it feel like I'm in a city in a the middle of a forest.  If Rivendale adopted technology, maybe this is what it would like.

All these mature trees do make navigation a bit more of a challenge. Hidden or partially blocked signs caused me to drive by the road to my hotel 3 times. I was starting to think the bloody place was a figment of my imagination.

And the road construction! I don't think I've been on a road here that isn't under construction on some part of its length. Which brings to mind another oddity, with all the construction going on you'd think the sections of road not under construction would be smooth and well maintained. Well you'd be wrong. Many sections are worse than the state of 427 in Ontario, which is saying something.

My hotel room is great. The Hilton Homewood Suites on Porter Rd. is highly recommended in my books. My room has a small living room and kitchenette (with fridge, stove, microwave and dishwasher) and a separate bedroom with shower and toilet. It's more comfortable than some of the condos in TO that people live in. At $240 a night, it ain't cheap, but nothing near the training seminar is. At least there's complimentary breakfast AND dinner as well as a free shuttle to anything within 5 miles.

My rental is a 2010 Chevy Malibu. I don't know how GM does it, but damn, they built another car that fits me like a glove. No other car maker builds vehicles that fit around my body as well as GM does. I was off the Malibu as I had owned a 1998 Malibu almost-lemon. But geez, it fits me so well I find myself wanting another one.

On the training front, I've been an administrator of our EAS install for two years now, so I thought the first few days would be yawners. I was wrong, the first day was pretty damned intense. By 5 o'clock my brain was starting to hurt as I was struggling to keep all the facts straight. The biggest benefit of this course may be that I'm sitting next to another Canuck IT admin that is learning this systerm to. And he works in TO. We've already exchanged contact info to be a mutual support group when we get home. It'll be nice to bounce ideas of someone without having to call tech support all the time.

For dinner tonight I found an Olive Garden, something my wife and I sorely miss after they folded their operations in Canada. The complimentary salad tastes as good as I remembered, and the chicken and shrimp carbonara main course was pretty damned good to.

The one annoying aspect of this trip is the lack of sight-seeing opportunities. My classmates and I were discussing how all the tourist sites (museums, historical sites, etc.) are only open 9-5. Which is when we're in class. And I fly back to Ontario on Friday, so I am completely out of luck.

Which led to tonight's pleasant surprise. Found an AMC theatre and figured I'd take in a movie. The only movie showing when I arrived that didn't require an hour wait was Jonah Hex. It wasn't half bad at all. I went in with low expectations and came out happy. Going in I thought it would be of the same calibre as The Punisher, but it was much better than that. About on par with the first Blade movie.

So I'll be spending the next 3 days cramming my brain with as much info it can hold before it bleeds back out my ears. Hopefully I'll retain enough to pass the test on Friday and get my certification.

Cheerio all.

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