Joe Levi:
a cross-discipline, multi-dimensional problem solver who thinks outside the box – but within reality™

Business Trip to Dallas, Texas

Day 1: Sunday, September 10th 2006

This morning (my 30th birthday) I left on a business trip to Dallas, Texas. My family and I began the morning with a trip to the local IHOP and then a run to Salt Lake International Airport.

The Terror Alert was elevated to Orange, supposidly in anticipation of 9/11.

Check-in and clearance through security took less than an hour. I’d arrived 2.5 hours before my flight. Luckily, I’d brought along music and reading material and set right to work devouring a new book (more on that later).

The flight-plan took use from SL International Airport to Denver, and from Denver to Dallas/Ft.Worth. With the aid of a GPS-enabled Pocket PC we made it to our hotel (some 15 miles from the airport) with plenty of time for dinner. I had blackened snapper, cajun style, served on a bed of craw fish (my wife would be so proud) in a retaurant called Humperdink’s. No, really, that’s what it’s called! I set up the laptop to talk with the hotel’s Wi-Fi network and watched part of a few shows that Natalie had recorded for me at home. (Streamed over Orb.) It’s an hour later in the evening than it is back home, so, in the interest of trying to adjust to the local time-zone (GMT -6), it’s off to bed for me.

Day 2: Monday, September 11th 2006

Today was a somber day for all of us. Everwhere I went people seemed to move a little slower, be a little more reverent, and a little more aware of things going on around them. We remembered that fateful day five years ago when the unthinkable happened. We remembered the heroism and tragedy.

Lunch today was provided for us: finger sandwiches and a variety of pasta salads. Quick, but effective. Today was a blur of information about RFID technologies, enablers, software, and tools.

Dinner was a traditional Texas barbequeue at a dive called Dickey’s. I think I ate more meat tonight than I have all year.

We got back to the hotel early. I called home and got to talk to all of my little ones, and my beautiful wife. I miss them all! I started chugging on homework for my IS&T classes and got all but one assignment for the week done. And at 12:30 CT, it’s time for bed!

Day 3: Tuesday, September 12th 2006

Today’s training was all about me; my co-workers got to sit back and get other work (or play) done while I crammed C# code all day.

Luckily we got to sample some real Tex-Mex cuisine for lunch: Papacito’s. I had their Mahi Mahi served over a bed of mushrooms, shrip, and crawfish. Yummy!

After more work in the classroom we finally broke for the day…

20 minutes later we were on the 6th floor of the former Texas Schoolbook Repository looking down on a street with two white x’s on the road… the road where J.F.K. was shot and killed. An hour later I was standing in the very spot on the grassy knoll where the conspiracy theorists laim the fatal shot was fired. Five minutes later I was being entertained by one of the conspiracy theorists himself. Ironically, the museum on the 6th floor of the building (the spot where the government said Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, shot and killed the former-president) left more questions unanswered concerning the “official history” than did the conspiracy theorist. He had logical and scientific explanations for al the events, video played frame-by-frame of the events, and simple, physically believable theories. Theories that answered the questions of how and the motivation of why. Neither of which did the museum explain. Hmmmm.

I’m convinced, the fatal shot came from the grassy knoll. Having stood in the very spot, surveyed the curvature of the road, the elevation difference on the route, and comparing that to the “official explanation,” the conspiracy theory is more simple and more plausable than the government’s explanation. I could go on and on… but I won’t… not in this post anyway.

So what did we do for dinner? We walked down to Market Street and found an interesting little resaurant called Gaters, and guess what they served? You guessed it: Alligator! I ordered a plate called “Gater Attack” which was basically deep-fried, breaded gater bits. It tasted sort of like mossy, stringey chicken.

Day 4: Wednesday, September 13th 2006

We were missing home today, so we found a nice little italian eatery called Mamma Mia’s. We ordered stuffed jalepenos, mozerella sticks, and an 18″ pizza (filled with spinach, eggplant, artichoke hearts, peperoni, and breakfast bacon). I haven’t seen a Texas yard-stick since I’ve been here, but that thing must be HUGE! Given the size of this pizza, 18 Texas inches are AT LEAST 30 Utah inches. Amazing!

Day 5: Thursday, September 14th 2006

We had Texas hamburgers for lunch today, basically “steak on a bun.” There’s alcohol EVERYWHERE. And churches, too! I’ve never seen so many churches… well, back in Utah it seems like there’s a church on every block (mostly LDS churches). Here in Texas, it’s the same thing: a church seemingly on every block, they’re just all different denominations.

Tonight was our night for authentic Texas Steak. We went to Saltgrass Steak House. There the appetizer was Steak Brischette (sp?). I had steak for my main-course, which came with a side of soup (my choice, steak soup or chicken tortilla soup). I’m sure they’d have put steak in the water and desert had I asked. No wonder Californian’s don’t come out here: they’d all die of starvation, you can’t even get green beans without meat in them! 😀

Day 6: Friday, September 15th 2006

Today is our last day in Dallas. I was able to cross several items off my “Things I want to do before I die” list, and learned a whole lot.

More importantly, I gained a greater appreciation for my wife and children. It’s only been a week, but I miss them terribly.

During all my time in Dallas, I have yet to see a single star. I’ve looked, but haven’t been able to see any. I suppose the song isn’t accurate… if there are stars at night, they are neither big nor bright deep in the heart of Texas.

My next post will be a normal one, back in Utah, with the mountains outside my window, my wife by my side, and my kids running around like savages. I can’t wait! 😀

See y’all soon!


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2 Responses

  1. mook says:

    Sounds like an awesome trip! I know it was just for business, but things like that are what make life fun, you know?

  2. Joe says:

    Sure enough, it was fun, I learned a lot, ate some really good food, got better acquanted with my boss and a co-worker, got to impress the pants off the CIO upon our return, and I checked off a few items from my “Things to do before I die” list.

    All said, I’m glad to be home. I missed my family and friends.

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