Back from New York

I just came back from my whirlwind Fall Break weekend trip up to New York for Microsoft’s Open House. (The trip was sponsored by Microsoft and run by uniformly delightful people, so I feel bad that I’m writing this on a MacBook. Not enough to switch, but, y’know, bad.)

Managed to start the trip off with a solo subway trip from the swanky hotel (in which I was not able to work the elevator, because I am not wealthy enough for that kind of crazy) to the American Museum of Natural History. I managed to unintentionally stumble onto their 10th anniversary celebrations on 10/10/10 for the Rosa Space Center. There was acapella music done by astrophysicists in addition to the normal battery of amazing bones and things. I was delighted.

I even got to commune with my friend the giant ground sloth!

It was more fun this year (in addition to just being nerdy) because I’m in Biological Anthropology, and the Human Origins hall was basically just a collection of the things that will be on my next test, except that they may have actually been real and certainly weren’t made out of plaster. Turns out the American Museum of Natural History is better funded than Oxford. Shocking, I know. I’ll let you catch your breath.

DINO PELVIS. HAWT.

I ventured out of the humany bits of the museum to go look at dinosaur pelvises, because I am That Kind of Person. Did you know that you can classify dinosaurs based on whether or not they have a portion of their pelvis that juts backwards? It’s true! I did not know this either, it’s okay.

But after that exciting fun of staring at dead things (guys, don’t go on vacation with me, seriously–it’s all dead things and not eating meat and uncomfortable small talk) I headed back to the hotel. Even though the stop near my hotel wasn’t accepting downtown traffic, it was still an experience less painful than any trip I have taken on MARTA, ever. MARTA is not SMARTA. It’s A POOR DECISION AS A RESULT OF URBAN SPRAWL. But that does not fit on posters as well, I guess.

I had dinner with the rest of the student journalists and the lovely Kristins and Suzi, who were our PR people babysitters for the weekend. They were very nice about putting up with our shenanigans. The dinner was one of those interpretations of a burger that involves a giant medallion of goat cheese and can’t actually be eaten as a sandwich, but it was delicious. The fact that I hadn’t really eaten lunch may have been a factor there too.

Afterwords, Kelly from Hack College came and took me to a hotel bar the name of which I did not see. We sat next to very drunk people and the place served both sweetbreads and head cheese and the waiter hated me a little because I didn’t order anything, but it was fun. (Generally any dinner where I get to horrify my dining companion by using the phrase “pig testicles” and talk about the internet is fun for me. Standards, met!)

The next day the student journalists and the PR people headed down to the Microsoft Open House event. We stood in line for a long-ass time, but it was compensated for by the giant crazy cattle elevator and the ritzy pear pop tarts (they seemed to have missed the point that pop tarts aren’t really supposed to taste like fruit, but it was okay). Then we got to experience the craziness that was the press conference for the Windows Phone 7 launch. Steve Ballmer was there and there was a space desk that ate the phones when appropriate. Crazy shit.

Afterwords they fed us at a nearby restaurant. I got to talk to Allan Dodds Frank, who works at the Daily Beast. He was delightful. Reminded me of Dr.

Me, standing in front of what Kelly tells me is Gakwer headquarters, at some late hour. It's entirely possible that he made that up. Who knows!

Shapiro, but that may just be my impression of every man over 40 from the north with whom I speak. I run into so few that I honestly don’t know.

 

We had to leave early (I missed tiramisu! There was great sadness.) to go interview Steve Ballmer with two of the other student journalists. He has a net worth of $1.3 billion. I’m really glad I didn’t know that before I went in. We talked about the phones and student tech and how he felt about WALL-E (he fell asleep), but I wrote an article about it for Hack College and it’ll be up tomorrow so I’m not going to rehash.

After that we spent most of the day being whisked around the displays. I wish we hadn’t been so structured–I would have preferred to hang out in the hardware corner, as it had the most relevant things for my publication and (in my opinion) seemed to have the most with-it staff (and cupcakes!), but c’est la vie. As a result of the shuffling I got to talk to the XBox guys about Nathan Fillion, so all was not lost.

We came back in the evening for the Microsoft party. Microsoft marked the under-21s with removable wrist bands and that’s all we’re saying about that. Kelly met up with us and brought Teresa Wu, who was charming and funny and helped me cut in line at the bar. The whole group–at this point everyone was kinda sloshed because the bartenders had a vendetta against mixers and they didn’t feed us dinner–piled into cabs and headed over to the RE:FORM School exhibit. It was full of art-house kids and in an abandoned school, so I felt at home. After some confusion with the bouncer, we got everyone in and half looked at the art and mostly looked at The Roots, who were playing in the school library because Microsoft has more money than God. I white-girl danced with abandon.

Eventually Kelly and I split to go eat (given that it was 10:30 pm and they still hadn’t fed us, this was a good life choice), and we wound up in a restaurant with odd ideas of plating. I got mac and cheese served in a fajita skillet and he had chili served on a plate. That is… not how things are done. But the mac and cheese was delicious, so I was willing to let it slide. I am generous like that, what can I say. I talked more than I should have and eventually it was midnight and Kelly had actual being an adult to do in the morning, so I piled in a cab and headed back to the hotel with confusing elevators.

This morning I wound back up at LaGuardia and, after a rather uneventful flight and a visit with my parents, headed home. Now to do actual homework!

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