Mark Terry

Saturday, June 14, 2008

So Here I Am

June 14, 2008
Yes, I've spent most of this week in Houston, Texas. Here's a photograph I took with my new digital camera. That's the view out my window on the fifth floor of the JW Marriott across from the Galleria, which is a big chi-chi mall.

Honest to God, the hot weather doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that every building in Houston apparently sets their air conditioning temperature at "meat locker." Really, people, I'm not sure you'd find the hot weather as annoying if every time you stepped in or outside you didn't undergo a 45 degree temperature change.

This other picture, with the fountain, is some building down the street. I shot it because I wanted a photograph of a palm tree. I'm from Michigan. We don't do palm trees in Michigan. Therefore, places where palm trees grow can--at some level--seem like tropical and exotic places, although in flavor and size Houston seems more like New York City than any other major city I've ever visited, ie., it's big and urban.

Was it a successful trip? I suppose. I'm pretty sick of it. I flew in Tuesday afternoon and fly home tomorrow morning--shuttle will be picking me up at the airport at 5:40 a.m. (oh joy).

I know I've eaten too much and drank too many alcoholic beverages. That's not much, for sure, a drink or two a day more or less, but this from a guy who might have a beer a year.

This is an annual trip for one of my clients and I like the people quite a bit, generally, especially the people who run the management company, but the success for me often depends on two factors.

1. If the location has a lot to do within walking distance. I don't rent a car on these trips so the city either needs good mass transit or to have a lot of cool stuff by the hotel. This one doesn't. I don't see anyone accusing Houston of having good mass transit (or any) and although I don't doubt there are people who's hearts go pitter-pat at the thought of an Ann Taylor, Versace and two Macy's stores RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET, it didn't do much for me, though I'm thankful for Borders and the Cheesecake Factory.

2. If I treat it like a working vacation for this client. In other words, I come to the meeting to do what the client needs more or less (basically for me to sit through their board meeting and be occasionally present at meetings and other events) and otherwise goof off. The problem comes when I try to actually do work in the hotel, which is what I tried to do this week. It takes me twice as long to get anything done, I don't feel like I'm getting anything done, and these expensive hotels generally rape you for Internet access--$11.95 per day, in this case. So I've been bouncing off the walls this week and now I just want to go home and get on with things.

I was thinking through the cities I've visited for this client or a couple other clients over the last 8 years or that I've done book events in:

Kansas City
Washington, DC
New Rochelle (NY)
Muncie, Indiana

Yeah, Muncie was for a mystery writers conference. I've always lived large as an author.

My favorites have been:

Washington, DC

And I wouldn't rule out Kansas City, which has a seriously cool World War I monument and museum and many, many fountains.

Baltimore's meeting was way cool, right on the inner harbor. Well, Ahaheim was Anaheim. The hotel was a mile from the entrance to Disney Land. Atlanta I got the "presidential suite" through someone else's misfortune and I thought the downtown area and Bicentennial Park and the CNN tour was cool.

And Washington DC is a great place to be if you like to walk around or take mass transit and see free things.

Still, Texas is all right and I bought a T-shirt that has a Davy Crockett quote on the back:

You can all go to hell
I'm going to Texas.

Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

LOL about the t-shirt.

I can't TELL you how much I love DC. I mean, I love DC almost as much as I love bookstores. In fact, my favorite bookstore is probably the Barnes and Noble they have in Georgetown. There was a nice Borders on, I think, 13th Street. Or L or something.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Yeah, DC is pretty cool. Great places to walk, great places to look at art, interesting museums, great architecture--and most of it's free.

What got me most about Baltimore were the water taxis, which are just plain cool.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

All right . . . we all have to plan a D.C. meet. Wouldn't that be fun sometime in the fall. An all-writers' weekend?

As for meat locker? My friend, don't visit me. My house generally will cause frost to form on your nose. I gave birth after 40. I'm hormonal. Any men--and my kids--have to suck it up. ;-)

3:56 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Okay Erica. i've been warned.

2:25 PM  
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