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To San Fran and Back: One Day for Horizon Project

I was a commuter today- a one day trip fro Phoenix to San Francisco for the NMC Horizon Project meeting… I am rather humbled and honored to be a part of a group of heavy hitters in the instructional technology realm- Phil Long from MIT (we first crossed paths at the TLTGroup‘s mid 1990s summer conferences in sultry Phoenix), Diana Oblinger from EDUCAUSE (long friend of Maricopa and guest speaker here, she is brilliant), Lev Golnick of Case Western (we go back to some email exchanges like 10 years ago when he did a sabbatical at ASU), Ruth Sabean from UCLA (we worked on some eportfolios efforts recently), Cyprien Lomas (NLII fellow and another from the great crew at UBC, Cyprian pops in via iChat and says “Hi from Vienna!”), Peter Samis (“Dr.Pachyderm” and another guest of Maricopa), and more were there…. and little ole me from a community college.

This was an awesomely dynamic group gathered to do the initial brainstorming of a pile of 40+ technologies that will be whittled down to a smaller number, researched, and highlighted in the 2005 Horizon Report.

Anyhow, for no other reason beyond frivolity, I decided on the flight home to jot down a chronology of the day- from the desert to “the City” and back in a flash…

4:30 am Brrrrrap. Alarm clock. Ouch. Belly up to the snooze bar, nope that is dangerous. Shower

5:00 am First cup of coffee. Barely makes a ripple. Need more.

5:25 am Hot the road, hardly any traffic, a quick zip down the 101 and 202 to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport.

6:00 am Park, ride the “Roadrunner” shuttle bus from econo-parking. The terminal is crowded, sigh. There were lots of folks who’s flights yesterday were cancelled due to our big dust/rain storm. Having no baggage is nice, as I can bypass the America West check in desks and use the express self service ones outside the security gates.

6:20 am Ugh, the security check is going at a fat snail; pace. There is only one line open. Now two, now three, now four.

7:10 am Take off! Barely enough time to grab a $2,40 bottle of diet soda (airport robbery). Bonus! I have the entire row of three seats to myself. Spread out wide, read, watch some excellent digital stories produced our faculty workshop group this week.

9:00 am Land at San Francisco airport, a bit early, which is good as I have just an hour to get downtown. Dash off the plane, follow the signs for the AirTrain (a new elevated transport that moves people between terminals). It is very efficient; I am able to take it to the International terminal, purchase a BART ticket, run downstairs, and jump into the 9:25 train to downtown.

iriver I did not fiddle enough with it, but played a bit with some recording the BART noicse with this tiny iRiver voice recorder (also an MP3 player). It comes out like loud static (i had it in my shirt pocket)…. it has great quaility for voice recording, and I have some future ideas on trying to do some audio blogging with it. Later, I moved it to my laptop as .wav files, dropped them into iTunes, converted to MP3. Also saw from the get info on the file, I could adjust the volume and crop the longer sound into a shorter sound file. So here it is, the sounds of BART:

The Sounds of BART [444k MP3]

9:55 am Exit BART at Powell and Stockton, right next to the spiffy new Apple Store, alas no time to stop.

10:00 am By some miracle, I get all green lights walking uphill to the Grand Hyatt, take the elevator to the 36th floor for the meeting location.

This whole itinerary was ambitious and went without a hitch- BART is a great way to get downtown form the airport for only $5, as opposed to some $30-$40 hell cab ride or one of those $15 Airport shuttles that stop at 18 hotels before yours.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm NMC Horizon Project meeting. Details obscured for now, shhhhh, hush, big secret (just kidding)- lots of group activity, discussion, exchange, use of some web site data building tools…

4:00 pm Time to turn around and head home. Walking downtown I attempt to record some street noise with my new iRiver MP3 recorder, drums in Union Square, people chatting, counting coins…The Sounds of Stockton Street [252k MP3]. Return to BART station well in advance of 4:14 pm train. Should be in good shape.

4:14 pm The Milbrae train comes on time, but there are some announcements about slow downs due to an earlier station closing due to “police action”. The train does stop in the tunnel a few times. A few locals are getting pissed off and cussing. Tourists huddle their suitcases and clamp down the headphones.

5:10 pm Arrive to America West check in,a bit late, but there are only about 3 people in line (miracle?). The lady at the desk has a note that they have my “key” at the gate. I am not sure what they mean since I have all of my car/house keys.

5:20 pm Starbucks. Iced Latte.

5:25 pm “Joy”keychain at Gate 26 shows me the “key” I supposedly left behind on my flight out. Yikes, it is mine! not my car key, but my USB thumb drive. It must have dropped out of my bag while I was using my laptop on the flight out. My lucky tip of the day- having written my name on it. Otherwise, who knows where it would have gone? And I was able to educate the ladies at Gate 26 what these things are used for.

5:35 pm Board the plane. No time to buy any trinkets, not that I needed any.

6:00 pm We are on our way. My seat companions include a gentleman who’s clothes, voice, hat, and mannerisms are a dead ringer for an old blues player, a John Lee Hooker, or Blind Lemon Flying Pinwheel… actually his name is George (“you know, man, like ‘George! George! George of the Jungle'”) and a young son. This guy does not want to nap, or let me read a magazine or use my laptop, he wants to chat. I can understand if I try hard about 20% of his words, but he is a pistol of a spirit, full of life. “Yeah, suh, I am a ;playboy, an OG, got lots of ladies….mumble mumble mumble… the joint down on Polk… mumble mumble… gotta live it up….”

7:45 pm Early landing in Phoenix! See ya George, turn up the town. I’m out the door, on the shuttle, in my car, in the freeway, and home by 8:20.

Nothing like it.

I could not be this kind of commuter more than once every 5 years.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.