About the Author:

With a career that has spanned advertising, production, technical services, and project management, Michael is able to articulate the wide range skills and professions that make the Internet work. This eclectic understanding and his desire to shine the light on those hiding behind techno babble has brought success to a wide range of projects.

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New York, New York

Made it to SXSW in Austin

Good Morning America, now Go Fight Traffic

More surreality in Portland

Irish Music in Oregon City

Landing on an Aircraft Carrier

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Random Music and Random Life in Portland

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump

Flight Simulator

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The wall of pissing

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Everyone is insane

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The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Race to Witch Mountain

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Follow up to the shoulder injury

Ironic Injury

On the Santa Monica Pier

Oil prices and birdsong

Watching Starship Troopers AGAIN!

You can't build life

Accidentally Drunk in Portland

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I am such an idiot

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I'm fascinated with modern plumbing

Leaving Seattle (or why you should keep your ticket close)

On the Rails

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On the Santa Monica Pier
2008-10-29 08:00:00

I'm sitting a stones throw from the Santa Monica Pier waiting for a 9:00 breakfast meeting. Although I'm originally from California, I'm a Northern Californian, and while this is the Pacific Ocean, it's not the part I know. Kind of like you can know someone's face but not the back of their head.

Probably the oddest thing about the beach is the fact they're grooming it like a snowfield. There's a John Deere tractor with what looks like discs roaming around the beach, scraping away the footprints and tire tracks which otherwise litter the beach. I don't know if that's because the sand gets packed down from 11 million people in LA or if it's just cosmetic.

I chose my lodging in this semi-exotic locale because it was fairly cheap -- hotels in Santa Monica seem to average around $250-300 a night, mine was $169. While it's a little funky, it's comfortable enough and a nice view of the water plus a window into the courtyard. A short walk brings me to the Casa del Mar, a swanky hotel, where I'm meeting a couple people about a project.

This trip does get marks for doing the stupidest thing ever on travel. I booked my hotel over the phone and gave them all my contact info. In this digital age I just expect to get a confirmation email. It wasn't until the night before that I realized that not only did I not get a confirmation, but I didn't write down the name of the hotel.

I figured that I could just search Google the same way and find the place, but none of them were looking familiar online. So I had my colleague drive me up and down the main drag and I still didn't spot it. So I finally got a connection, logged back into my machine at the office, went through my Internet history on that computer, and found it. I think this tops my missing my flight in DC because I was two hours early...

As usual, I'm traveling because of business -- a series of meetings in conference rooms and over meals in LA with prospects and money people. It's a productive trip, and less surreal than these trips usually feel. While I'm not a native southern Californian, I'm amazed at how familiar this place is -- I've had no problem navigating, people respond my odd humor the way I expect, and while the beach is different and the air feels as if it's been breathed, it's still California.

It's kind of like visiting your cousins -- they do a lot of things the way I expect, but then there are the odd things that throw you (like the time they fed me peanut butter and banana sandwiches). Familiar, but not home.

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