Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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We’re Not In Kansas Anymore!

In fact, I haven’t been in Kansas in more 3 weeks1! Hopefully I can remember all the stuff I wanted to blog about it2!

  • I added FOUR new states to the list of states to which I have been: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. The first and last of those were just in airports, but technically I was in those states, so I’m counting them.
  • And speaking of technicalities, I can now check off “go to Chicago” on my 101 list, as I had a stopover at Chicago O’Hare. Someday I’d like to go back and actually see the city, but for now, this satisfied the requirement. To prove I was there, here’s a photo I took in the airport.
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  • And speaking of photos I took in airports, here’s a photo I took in the Denver airport.
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    You’d think that would be a photo from Kansas, what with all the house-lifting, witch-crushing tornadoes they have there, but nope, that was Denver.
  • And speaking of Kansas, a few of my colleagues were surprised to learn that the Kansas City we were going to was not in Kansas. I’m not sure why I knew there were two Kansases, one of which was in Missouri, but it probably has to do with my being a huge baseball fan as a kid and the Kansas City Royals playing in Missouri. What I didn’t realize was that the two Kansas Cities are right next to each other, separated by the Missouri River in the north and by the aptly named State Line Road in the south. During our time at the conference, my colleagues and I waxed poetic about wanting to go to Kansas City, Kansas, which seemed like it made more sense than Kansas City, Not in Kansas. On our last full day, we had time between the last conference session and the evening conference party, so we decided to grab a cab to the outlets to go shopping. On the way there, we went over a bridge and, knowing that Kansas City was separated from Kansas City by a river, I was like, “Hey, are we going to Kansas?” And indeed we were. So we got our wish to go to Kansas, which we were mostly wishing to do so that we could later say “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” Which we did.
  • And speaking of the conference party, it was quite an event. The conference itself was massive – with 11,000 conference delegates, it apparently brought more than $11 million to the local KC economy for a 3-day conference! – and the party was no exception. They closed off the club district of Kansas City, located in the KC Power & Light District, just for the conference delegates. This area has a bunch of restaurants on the ground level, and then a bunch of clubs on the second level, all surrounding a giant courtyard where they had a concert. Here’s a photo, though it really doesn’t do justice to the size of it (while lots of people were outside at the concert, all the clubs and restaurants were also full).
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  • And speaking of restaurants, before I went to KC, lots of people told me that KC is famous for BBQ, but I only got to try one BBQ place3, where I had an amazing steak dinner; the second night they took us to some museums and had appies stationed throughout the museums, but none were BBQ, and on the third night was the big party, where they had food stations in all the restaurants as well as in a giant food tent and there was where we finally got some BBQ.)) and it really wasn’t very good. I took one bite of the ribs and immediately said, “I get way better ribs at Re-Up BBQ in New West!”
  • I was pleased to see that weapons – concealed or otherwise – were prohibited from the conference center.
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  • One of the side benefits of attending the conference (in addition to the conference itself, which was quite useful in terms of learning stuff that is useful for my job) was that I got to spend a bunch of time getting to know three of my co-workers. At work, everyone is so busy that there is rarely time to talk about anything other than work, but at the conference, we ate all our meals together, got to do some shopping, hung out at the parties, and I ended up being on the same flights home with one of those co-workers, so I got to chat with her while we were traveling too. It’s really nice to feel like I have some friends at work now.
    1. I just realized that the last time I blogged was three whole weeks ago and I talking about going on my trip and so you all probably thought I died in a fiery plane crash! Well, I’m happy to report that I did not died in any sort of plane crash, fiery or otherwise. []
    2. Naturally, I’m only going to blog about the non-work things, as I’m sure that though I find the minutiae of closed loop medication management and the latest in electronic health record sepsis alerting systems to be fascinating, you may have a different opinion on that! []
    3. All three nights had hosted dinners – the first night they took us to an Irish pub ((And they had Murphy’s Irish Stout at the pub – very unusal to find it outside of the southern part of the Republic of Ireland!
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Trip

Wrote this on a plane on Thursday night. Plane arrived at 1 am. Then I spent the next two days having fun with my family and completely forgot to post this. So now I’m posting it from the Toronto airport as I await my next flight. Better late than never, right?

So here I find myself on a plane heading to Toronto and I realize that I haven’t even mentioned a thing about my trip here on ye old blog! But now I’ve got 4+ hours on a plane and, sure, I have work I could be doing1, but my brain is pretty fried from all the work I’ve been doing of late, so I figure I’ll write this blog posting now and leave the work for later, as there will be plenty more flights and sitting around in airports in the next week!

So yes, about the trip. I found out about a month ago that I was getting the opportunity to go to a conference for work. The conference itself looks fantastic – so many interesting sessions to go see and lots of great networking opportunities. The conference is being held in Kansas City, Missouri2 and while Kansas City was not on the top of my list of places that I wanted to travel to – hell, it wasn’t even on my list at all – I’m not one to turn down free trips to interesting conferences and I have been assured there will be excellent BBQ to be had.

Anyway, unsurprisingly, there are no direct flights from Vancouver to KC, so I started looking at flight options and, weirdly, I saw a flight through Toronto. I say “weirdly” because Toronto is not on the way to KC and that flight had another stopover in addition to Toronto, but at any rate, it got me thinking about tagging on a leg of the trip to go see my family3. The conference starts on Sunday night, so I first thought I’d fly out after work on Friday and get to spend Sat with the fam. But then I looked at the calendar and realized that Friday is Halloween and no way was I going to be spending Halloween on a plane! So I took tomorrow off and booked my flight for this evening so I get to spend Halloween at my sister’s place. Which means I get to go trick or treating with my niece and nephew for the first time ever! I moved out to Vancouver before either of them were born and have not had the opportunity to be in Toronto on Oct 31st since then4, so I am super duper stoked to go out with them!

Also, my sister bought a pumpkin for us to carve and, because she’s the best sister in the whole world, she bought a big, big pumpkin, because she knows I love big pumpkins (and I cannot lie.). When we were kids, my parents would take us to the pumpkin patch and my sister would always choose the most perfectly shaped, round little pumpkin she could find and I would picked the biggest one (obviously compensating for my own short stature by choosing a pumpkin that is bigger than me. Go big or go home, I always say). So it’s super sweet that she got us a giant pumpkin, because her own pumpkin preference is little and perfect!

After Halloween, I get to spend Saturday hanging with the family some more and then I’m jumping on a plane on Sunday morning to make my way to Kansas City. I have a 1 hr stopover in Chicago – Chicago *is* on my list of places I want to travel to and so I’m a bit choked that all I will get to do is run through O’Hare airport to catch my connection. That won’t stop me from crossing “Visit Chicago” off my list of 101 things to do, but getting to actually go to Chicago and see the city is still going to be on my list of places to travel!

I’ll be in Kansas City for three days of learning all the things, and then Wednesday night it’s back to Vancouver with a 1 hr stopover in Denver. And then back to work on Thursday! No rest for the wicked!

As per usual, let me remind any would-be thieves that I do have a house sitter who will totally kick your ass if you try anything, along with 2 attack cats and 4 vicious (not viscous) attack frogs. You have been warned.

  1. In addition to work work, I also have to make some edits to my online stats course, which I will be teaching again at the Justice League and I have a talk to write for a workshop to give to some med students that I was just invited to do today and I have a journal article that I’ve been meaning to start for ages! []
  2. Not to be mistaken for Kansas City, Kansas. Why the hell Missouri decided it was a good idea to name their biggest city “Kansas City” when there is already a Kansas City right there in the state of Kansas, I’ll never know. It would be like New Brunswick saying “You know what would be a good name for a city? Quebec City, New Brunswick. Yeah, I like that way that sounds!” []
  3. Once you are flying, it’s way cheaper to tag on a side trip than to book a flight on its own. I have to pay the difference between what my flight would have cost if I’d only gone from Vancouver to KC and what it cost to add on the Toronto leg, which was only $150. A flight to Toronto from Vancouver is usually in the range of $800, so I’m totally fine with paying $150 to get to see the fam! []
  4. The closest I’ve been was a couple of years ago when I was in Toronto for the Hoot and Howl fundraiser at my niece’s school and we had Thankoween dinner. []