Thursday, February 8, 2007

White all over
Well, I'm on another short business trip. This time, I'm back in Dallas for another radio convention put together by the Radio Advertising Bureau. I went to this one last year and it was also held in Dallas [Three trips to Dallas in less than a year, hmm ...]. It was scheduled to be in New Orleans but Hurricane Katrina ended that and the RAB folks moved it to the airport in Dallas.
It's basically three days of intense training about radio sales, sales management and marketing. I learned a ton of stuff last year and it easily kept me going through 2006. This trip will probably be the last one I take for awhile since I won't be at my current job for long. Depending on where I end up, I may try and get to future NAB shows. The Vegas shows are very impressive - so much to learn and look at. But unless you spend the whole week there, you can miss a lot. Last year, I spent one whole day in a job fair and the rest of the time, I was on the phone dealing with work crap "... the printer isn't working; the Internet's down ..." so I didn't get to take in too much of the show. In addition, taking the five-hour flight from Manch to Vegas pretty much blows an entire day. So, with the big show, you have to plan ahead and take the extra time to get in and settle in so you can take in the entire experience.
The next radio show is in Charlotte, North Carolina in September. I could potentially drive to that one with the family. We also have family in South Carolina, so you kill two birds with one stone. However, that is a ways off. The 2006 Radio Show was less impressive in 2006 than in 2005. Lots of good management training and information but not a lot of vendors or services to learn about.

After thinking long and hard about whether to cancel this trip or not, I decided to go. I had already paid for everything on the trip but meals and cab fare, so what the hay? You can never have too many skills and I've found that training is one of the most important things which workers, especially creative types, can get. It is also one of the things most workers actually never get. In addition, I don't know where I'm going to end up next. So everything I learn here could help along the way. It isn't a bad investment in yourself and since I do things on the cheap, it isn't a very large investment either. I booked a room at the Quality Inn two miles from the Hyatt Regency-Reunion hotel where the event is taking place, The difference in cost? $140. Or, $560 over four nights or about what I paid for the conference admission fee!

The airline trip wasn't too bad. The two empty planes I was on were nice because I had the chance to kinda stretch out a bit and relax. I didn't feel like I was in a can of sardines which is what usually happens. I wonder if that is because I took an afternoon flight out of Manch instead of a morning flight. Just a thought.
I could've done without the two-hour layover in Chicago but it gave me a chance to get a quick sandwich and listen to some tunes on the computer. I really wanted a salad but they were really expensive - one place had a Greek salad for $9.25! I know it is winter but one of the few benefits of globalization is winter produce!
While playing some tunes, I realized that I have almost 2 gigs of songs on my computer, either downloaded from or copied from CDs I have. I couldn't believe all the stuff I have. For the first time in a long time, I sat back and took the time to listen to some of my favorite music. One of the neat things about having downloads versus CDs is that you can skip around a bit. You don't have to listen to one artist for 13 songs. You can listen to two songs and then jump over to someone else. I haven't quite figured out how to properly set up the Windows Media Player playlist function but I will. It will almost be like having a new mix tape every day.
The new Sony in-ear headphones I bought with Best Buy gift cards I received over the last year [thanks Christine and Stacey] blocked out most of the airplane noise. This helps a lot. I probably won't go as deaf as fast. The previous headphones which came with the Panasonic .mp3 player I have were pretty junky - hard plastic which were too big for my ears - so a lot of background noise seeped through. This meant that I had to turn the headphones up louder to hear the music on the plane. With the new ones, I can leave them at a reasonable level. In addition, these new ones have higher bass output which helps to keep the .mp3s from sounding too tinny.
The arrival in Dallas was delayed due to a late takeoff at Midway. A bunch of New York planes were coming through. This pissed off at least one passenger on our flight - a guy with a southern drawl who, before taking off, was bragging on his Bluetooth headset about the 90 minutes worth of drinking he was going to be doing at a local bar before crashing. It was so high school. The guy could be shoveling manure somewhere or digging ditches. He isn't; he's on a plane and will soon be in the bar! Stop complaining already.

One of the neat things about flying across the country is looking out the window at the country. I've noted this in earlier posts which you can read on the "Best of" listings. On previous trips, there wasn't any snow. Sometimes, there was some in the mountains. On this trip? Wow, snow was everywhere. The cold snap across the nation made it white all over, especially when traveling from Manch to Chi-town. As we came in on approach to Midway, the farmland was striking. In contrast to the browns and greens of previous seasons, the landscape of Illinois was almost entirely white, peppered with very small clumps of trees. In some cases, there were rows of trees, usually along a road or signifying a property line or border. All I could think about was all the things which were probably growing over this entire vast space of land. With the exception of fish, almost our entire food supply comes from large tracts of land like the ones I saw on Wednesday. It makes you think about things when you are up in the air looking down on such land.

No comments: