I blog tonight from a dorm room at Case Western University, a supposedly prestigious institution sitting in the middle of the slum that is downtown Cleveland. It was fun enough getting here, but it’s even more fun getting around, as in typical college fashion, the layout around here is organic—by which I mean it looks like the city planner’s six-year-old threw up spaghetti all over daddy’s diagrams.
I’m here for the annual CampusEAI conference, which is the group involved in my company/school’s portal system currently being implemented. It uses Oracle’s portal software, with regard to which which my own opinions rarely rise from the excremental. Still and all, since I have to be able to work with and develop portlets for this system, it was decided that I should tag along, probably making me one of the younger people here—certainly, it will mostly be college graduates at the very least, if not mostly 30s and 40s managers and project leaders.
My coworkers and I are staying at one of Case Western’s new dorms, the privilege of which is costing us only slightly less than a hotel. On the one hand, the dorm is new, and has separated sleeping areas; on the other hand, we were promised amenities like soap and air conditioning, and so far, I have found only open windows, a locked thermostat, and a bathroom completely barren of anything but two rolls of toilet paper (five people, three days and three nights). We each received two keycards, one for the building we are staying at, and another for our apartment and the individual bedroom within. At least two of the outer-building keycards didn’t work after checkin.
The free swag? A cheap blue bag, so far, with some “coupons” for local eateries, most of which seem to be of the homegrown, “organic”1 variety. Then again, I probably shouldn’t judge quite yet: the conference doesn’t start until early tomorrow, which means waking up at the asscrack-of and giving it a try.
So, here on my laptop, cruising around on the ultra-slow wireless network2. At least there’s a Starbucks on the bottom floor, so when I stagger down to the lobby, bleary-eyed and hateful, I can waste my money on overpriced and overroasted coffee and be slightly less bleary-eyed and hateful by the time I have to start shmoozing.