East Coast Adventure

John McManamy Health Guide
  • It's 6 AM and I need to be sleeping. I'm flying out tomorrow from San Diego to Washington DC.


    Yikes! What if I fly out today? Suddenly I'm wide awake.


    My PowerPoint presentation! I suddenly realize. One of the slides is wrong!


    I was up till 2 AM trying to get my old piece of crap Windows laptop to burn a disk of my PowerPoint and short video. I've been instructed by the organizers of a talk I will be giving that I will have to use their laptop, not mine. Hence, conversion of my spiffy Keynote presentation on my great iMac to clunky PowerPoint and the hell on earth that is Windows.

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    It only took a half day to figure out how to reformat my iMovie video to something RealPlayer or QuickTime can read, and the knife I used to pry open the disk tray worked  great the second time I tried it. The laptop only crashed twice, and the disk burned like a charm once I mastered the technical skill of banging the heel of my palm real hard against the side of the unit.


    Really, I have no idea why people switch to Macs.


    Turned out I didn't make a mistake with my PowerPoint after all. Now I can relax. My clothes for the trip are right where I can find them - in the bag I haven't unpacked from my New Zealand trip last month. All I have to do is wash and dry them and recycle them back in the same bag.


    Let's see. Paperwork I should have filled out two weeks ago. Writing deadlines to meet. Travel bookings to print out. People I meant to contact when I got back from New Zealand, cell phone bill I need to pay, carton of books I need to order for my publisher to send to Princeton.


    Plus more packing. Hmm. What should I leave behind this time? My journalist road kit now includes a camcorder I barely know how to use. Should I take the tripod with me? No. Why don't I designate that as the item I forget. That way, I'll remember to take my credit card and my underwear.


    I'll be out of the house at 8AM tomorrow for a noon flight to DC that arrives sometime around 10 PM via Atlanta. I'll crash at a hotel near the airport, then head into town to the one-star flea bag I booked near the convention center. The American Psychiatric annual meeting is in town. It is a six-day event that features an all-star speaker line-up, plus the chance to meet some very smart people. The media room opens for registration at 11 AM.


    The first day of the conference is low-key, so I'll be looking forward to going back to my flea bag and catching up on my sleep. Then I'll be sprinting a four-day marathon. Not much generally goes on the last day, so I'm giving it a miss in favor of an early morning AMTRAK to Connecticut for a family visit. Then to Princeton three days later to dazzle an audience of psychiatrists and other clinicians with my PowerPoint. Did I tell you PowerPoint is a pleasure to work with?


    Next day, it's either Newark or Philly for my return to San Diego. Note to self. Book flight.


    Somewhere in the middle of all that, I'm hoping to catch up with some old east coast buddies.


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    This is my only scheduled road trip this year. Last year I did ten. The cumulative stresses proved way too much. My eighth or ninth trip I arrived home just in time repack my bags in preparation for evacuating the worst fires in California history.


    Hmm. What can go wrong this time?


    Stay tuned for my "live" blogs from the APA and on the road ...



Published On: May 02, 2008