Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hawaii Diarii, Day 5

The first day of the convention is over. It's 12:30 a.m. local, and I'm slightly intoxicated.

I could joke that I lei'd two girls, but that would be an obvious one. Hey, I had two lei. (Yeah, that's plural.) What was I going to do with two flower necklaces?

• The bulk of the day was a "high-intensity business" seminar. I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say it was all day long, valuable to me professionally in ways I figure virtually none of my readers care about, and I got to go to lunch with five girls and another guy. This was good. A different ramen place. Ran about 9 to 4:30ish.

• After that, I screwed around in my room just long enough to ensure I didn't have time to eat dinner, so I grabbed a beer and small appetizer at the bar.

• Went to a brief talk for first-time AAJA convention attendees, where they told us we shouldn't skip stuff I already decided to skip, that we should make the most of it, which I already am trying to do, and that we should catch the bus to the opening reception as soon as possible. So I did.

• The opening reception was fun. Hung around with the girls from the afternoon, a guy I know from the NYC chapter and, oddly enough, the first person I saw was a woman who shares a mutual friend with a friend and was trying to find me. If that makes sense. Good food. Expensive booze, but somehow I got a two-fer for my last ticket. When we got off the bus at the Hawaiian Academy of Art (I think), these little girls gave us lei, and then there was entertainment that included them dancing traditional dances (adorable) plus some scantily-clad women in grass skirts, and one really scary dude with face paint and a giant spear. Plus, a few speakers, including the head of the hometown paper, the president of AAJA and the mayor of Honolulu. You'd be surprised how many Asian women don't drink. And how many do. We all have some degree of that alcohol allergy issue.

• My evening ended at the restaurant atop the hotel, where the Hawaiian chapter (the host chapter) threw a party that didn't quite get coordinated properly, so half of us were sitting at tables in the back wondering where everyone else was, while everyone else was standing around the bar in the front, socializing. I moved to the front as soon as reasonable, along with everybody else from the back. Met a lot of people, including some cute girls with the con and just around, and my buddy Henry, who's one of AAJA's living legends and a helluva pitcher for Newsday's team, too. Though I can hit him pretty well, he is, after all, more than twice my age. Also met the girl who organized the surfing outing Sunday, who's rooming with the girl in charge of the volunteering I'm doing. So it was a good time getting to meet people all day. And drinking. And hitting on cute girls. Hey, I went to the business seminar all day, I deserve to be able to flirt at the mixers afterward.

• I actually got genuinely cock-blocked by somebody at the reception. And I wasn't even trying anything. It was stunning. Me and this other guy from the seminar were talking with a girl from the seminar about grabbing some more food, when this dude comes up and goes to her, "hey, we're going to look at the exhibits," (it's in an art museum, remember?) and she was like, "oh, I wanted to see those," and bailed on us. How rude!

• You'd be surprised, too, how small a world journalism is. Everybody knows somebody you know. I already mentioned the friend of a friend of a friend at the reception. I sat behind a woman from Texas at the seminar who works with a copy editor I worked with in Allentown. Then I met a TV reporter from Philly at the mixer, who knows a newspaper guy I worked with in Allentown. It was nice that I've been active enough people recognized me, too, even if it was just a couple from the NYC chapter and its events (in fact, the very first person I saw at the con was somebody I know from NYC events). And of course, Henry's at Newsday and knows a ton of people I know. I also ran into a guy who used to work in Allentown who (like me) has long ago moved on.

• Other people met (or re-met, not all-inclusive): TV reporter from Ohio, sportswriter from Cali, PR woman from Cali, therapist and med student from Hawaii, PR guy from Hawaii, wire editor from DC, biz reporter from San Antonio, designer from Washington Post, Vietnamese TV woman from Houston, reporter for Chinese paper from Hawaii, reporter for Japan Times, his female sidekick, also from Japan, some other TV people from Cali, online editor from ESPN, reporter for People. That's all I can remember.

• Running tally of times people asked me to take their picture: 2.

• Graft I've scored: Excellent tote bag - half the people I work with have one from some convention. Now I'm finally even. Assorted convention and seminar material. At least two pens. A Sheraton note pad. A keychain with some insect repellent attached - no lie! Another little foam throwing star (I have one at the office). Two super-soaking water-ball bombs I won as a prize in the seminar - I missed out on the water guns, sadly. And, coolest of all, except maybe the tote bag, a 60MB thumb drive I got from General Motors just for filling out a card. I'm sure I'll be on their mailing list now, despite having just bought a car, but I mean, sheesh, that's a free thumb drive! USB, goes on a keychain, totally rad. And of course, the two lei, which I gave to girls crashing the mixer who weren't AAJA and thus didn't have them. Chivalrous indeed. I even got a hug, which is a decent start, eh?

• Today's running joke: I keep telling people, after they find out I've been here all week, that today's the first day I've worn pants. What? It's true. Sadly, tomorrow will be the second day. All work and no play makes Mookie a dull Munkee.

Tomorrow's plan: Seminars and maybe a visit to the job fair. Not sure how consistent my updates will be. This is the first time I've been back in my room other than a quick trip up to drop off my bag between the seminar and the reception. But I don't have any all-day things, so I may be up here and there.

(Oh, and did I mention I bought another T-shirt the other day? The "Hawaii '06" football-jersey-style one all the tourists have. It was on sale, and I couldn't resist.)

Bedtime. This is why I'm glad I really don't feel the need to go to the 8 a.m. sessions. The big ones are "plenaries" and I'm not even sure what that means.

OK, I Googled the definition. Jeez, I'm a copy editor, aren't I? But I'm still not sure I understand what it means. So I'm still not going. It's OK, I'm blowing off some of the other stuff I probably shouldn't have blown off, including the awards luncheon and the gala. Look, I'm in this for me, so I'm going to the things that are going to benefit me either in my current job or in my future career. (Or are full of pretty girls.) Some of these issues/subjects/excuses to get overdressed just don't mean anything to me. Sorry. I'd rather be a better copy editor than think about big issues while still half-asleep. Just so y'all understand where I'm coming from here.

But it was a good day. Hopefully, tomorrow will be even better. Maybe I can get back to the beach when no one's looking.

On to the next part!


Freak Magnet said...

Are the lei fake or real? I always wondered that.

Ace said...

Some are fake, some are real. The ones from last night were real, which is why I didn't mind giving them away to cute girls. What was I going to do with semi-live flowers for like four more days?

And they're heavy as hell around your neck, too, if the flowers are big enough.

Real said...

So did you like lei the two girls at the same time.

Insert porn music here.