On the ground in New Orleans

I’m headed home today after a successful week of standards development in New Orleans. I did manage to get morning and evening walks most days, and I ate and drank well all week. No complaints at all.

But the Spanish moss and wrought iron pictures just weren’t happening for me, so I reverted to type and snapped pics of the vibrant and varied access covers. So many!

This one was everywhere

A torrent of water meters

The old (left) and the new

Somewhere in between

Gas meters often painted yellow

My old friend the Neenah Foundry

Sewer Jones USA Pride. For some reason I’m reminded of Donald’s mental fitness exam a few years ago.

In addition to Western Union, there are old Bell System and AT&T covers, as well as newer Cox etc, all representing the communications infrastructure.
Best name

The sewer ones are unadorned

Crescent? Central? Cajun? Electric Light and Power Co

Compare to the previous one. This must’ve been end of shift, got tired of lining up all the little treads.

So much history, or at least stories, are represented here.

The Big Easy

Another May, another HL7 Working Group Meeting. This time we’re in New Orleans, which ranks as one of my favorite venues for this kind of thing. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be here repping NZ and I look forward to the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

For all our time together, Lee has impressed on me the importance of NOT moving to Texas. The weather is certainly one of her reasons for that stance.

But you can’t choose where your family lives. So when I have a stop-over chance to visit them in Houston, I take it.

It was hot for sure. But I survived my 40 hours on the ground and got to see the whole clan. And ate a lot, including a delicious dinner at Ninfa’s on Navigation.

Et tu, brutalism?

Brutalism is a style of architecture… that much I knew already. And when I saw this building in Wellington a few weeks ago, that was the word that jumped into my head. But is that really how to describe this building?

Luckily, I can just dial up the Wikipedia article on brutalism… and so now I can say with more confidence: yes, that’s pretty much what brutalism looks like, although there are more extreme examples. Unfinished concrete, geometric shapes, minimal ornamentation… check, check, check. Brutalism often makes the building’s inner workings more prominent, like having the elevator shafts on the outside or otherwise exposing the building’s intended purpose. I didn’t see that done here, although it will be worth a return trip to look again sometime.

Brutalism has passionate followers even today, but has largely gone out of fashion as being soulless and making you feel like Big Totalitarian Brother is looming over you all the time. Certainly I would hesitate before venturing into National Office with whatever civic problem might bring me there. To quote The Living, an excellent movie I saw this weekend, “in the meantime we’ll just leave your petition here, it’ll do no harm.”

Hot Like a Mexican!

That’s Andres, and he sells the best tacos in New Zealand under the moniker Hot Like A Mexican. I was so glad somebody in our Expats Facebook group posted about this place, just a hole in the wall in Wellington.

Trip to the Strip

We drove in and walked around a bit.

I wonder if I would get the friends and family discount here?

Lots of bright lights! And one difference from when I was last here… pot is legal here now, and a LOT of people were enjoying a smoke as they strolled along. I can’t say I enjoy that… although saying so makes me feel old and crotchety.

Lake Las Vegas

For this week’s HL7 meeting we’re in Henderson NV, about half an hour from the Las Vegas Strip. That half hour equates to a $60 round trip to do much of anything off the resort. And the resort is mostly shuttered because it’s the deep off-season. So let’s go for a walk…

Those bighorn sheep adorn a roundabout… it’s a helluva roundabout for being basically in the middle of nowhere.

Insert housing development here.

Across the road from the resort is this pretty rushing river. It turns out not to actually be a river, but rather something called the Las Vegas Wash. Go figure. Still, very pleasant spot with pretty trails, lots of birds and desert plants.

The resort tries to channel the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.

These coyotes, who were just exiting the resort proper when I saw them, looked pretty well fed. Later, I saw a manicured lawn teeming with bunnies and quail. That made me think the coyotes have plenty to hunt. But on reflection I’m betting the coyotes eat even better by raiding the dumpsters.

Our group’s planners made a conscious decision to not be on the Strip, and I get that. But being captive on the property may not be an improvement… can’t please everybody, that’s for sure!!

So close and yet

Here I am in the middle of the desert, but it’s not that there’s no water. Lake Las Vegas literally laps at the faux-Italian foundation of my hotel.

But it’s off-season, so the water activities are all closed. But that’s OK, I don’t need a crowd to go in for a morning dip. But I do need some minimum amount of body heat in order to not drown, and that water ain’t warm enough. So, lovely as it looks, the lake is off limits.

But that’s ok because I’m at a massive resort where people will want a place to cool off… of course there’s a big beautiful pool.


Qué rico sabor

On the one hand, a perfectly ordinary meal at a neighborhood Mexican restaurant (La Paloma in San Bruno, CA).

On the other, a wonderful superlative orgasmic delicacy because you just can’t have it in New Zealand.

A hard case

International rules for carry-on baggage are tougher than they are on 🇺🇸 flights, and the trips are longer, so now I’m a person who checks a big roller suitcase. It feels a little weak compared to being a true road warrior, but it’s nice to have plenty of room and space to mule back a few things from Walgreens etc.

For my jet lag recovery day I’m in San Francisco, and I figured — correctly — that all they had to do was put the bag on and off one plane. Very little risk of it getting lost.

But the gremlins got me anyway! After clearing customs, about half the plane’s baggage made it out before the conveyor jammed leaving the rest of us standing around for most of an hour. It was pointed out to me that Bruce Willis would have just slid down the chute to get his own damn bag.

Tomorrow morning it’s on to the outskirts of Las Vegas for a week of standards-setting with my HL7 whānau. In this case, what happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas simply because all our friends and families are reeeaaaalllly tired of hearing about the committee meetings and keynote speeches and 3-year roadmap updates.

Oriental Bay

Traveling for work can be tough on one’s workout routine, especially if that routine requires a lot of gear. This has meant that my frequent Wellington trips have kept me in the pool, because cold and/or stormy water make me want a wetsuit and a group of swimmers I know and trust. And traveling with a wet wetsuit in your carry-on bag is tricky.

But now that the weather is warming up I’ve been able to take a few open water swims at Wellington’s Oriental Bay. By 7 AM there are a couple dozen ‘serious’ swimmers in the water, and a surprisingly large number of people who just go in and splash around for a few minutes. I’ve been able to buddy up with other swimmers and —apart from one day where I turned back early after coming onto a veritable cloud of jellyfish creatures that might or might not have been the stinging kind— had some lovely morning moments.

Thar she blows

Alternate title: Conventioneer mugs for camera.

That’s me at the Te Puia geyser, which was part of the big social evening at last week’s Digital Health Week celebration in Rotorua.

The geyser is probably more interesting than we learned from 10 minutes of staring at it before being herded back onto the little golf cart train.

Everything you need for a fun night in Maramarua

On the way back from hot water beach, we stopped off for lunch at the pub in Maramarua, which is really just a wide spot in the road.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these men’s room vending machines, but I thought this one seemed particularly thoughtful… cologne, a toothpaste and toothbrush combo, and of course a condom. Six bucks invested and you’re ready to make an impressive entrance at the Met Gala or wherever life takes you… hello ladies!

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