This morning I was able to get up early, finish a post about my Test drive of the Chevy Silverado and then pack up to go home. Unlike other conferences the swag from this conference was pretty lightweight for me which is fine because it was much easier to bring home with me. iTunes Gift cards from Chevy as well as a Starbucks Gift card and a few other cool things. I bought two books and traded some laser tag for a Droid pillow (I couldn’t bring laser tag home with me I’d have had to ship it). Chevy also gave me a slick car kid with a tire pressure gauge, pen and flashlight.
|I made my way down to the lobby and gave the concierge my suitcase. Dave Taylor came down and put all his stuff into his car and while he was doing that Angus Nelson came down to let me know that the family was running a little late and could we meet up later. I told him that we’d go on ahead and they could catch up with us because Landmark Diner was only about 5 minutes away. He was cool with that so when Dave came back the two of us walked to the Landmark.||
The Landmark is a pretty decent breakfast joint, it is actually large for a diner but certainly has the diner feel. They also had gourmet looking cakes and pastries all over the place. The cakes were amazing looking. I bet they were equally delicious. Dave and I got to talk for a while which was nice. I hadn’t had a long conversation with Dave before. We chatted a bit after Blog World Expo last year in the Las Vegas Airport but that was about it. So it was nice to have a good conversation with Dave.
Angus and his wife Samantha and their two adorable children. Angus’ daughter sat down next to me and I was determined to get a smile out of this kid. I’m like nitrous for children (in a safe and controlled way not a dangerous way as I would never give a child nitrous) and they always laugh for me, I’m goofy and find that I am most goofy when making kids laugh. She gave me the stone face of a skeptic throughout the meal. I even let her play with EvaBear, still nothing. However, during the meal my Dad called and I got up from the table. When I got back Angus told me that she was looking all around for me and when the meal was ultimately over I waved to her and she enthusiastically waved, but no smile. Next time kiddo. Such a sweetie, but then again her parents are both really sweet people and I was happy to get to know them a bit over the course of the weekend. I really want to see Angus’s talk but it was the exact same time as mine so I hope to see it once it goes online and I need to read his book, too. I bought a copy and he signed it for me.
We were also joined at lunch by Eric Elkins. Erik did a session on how much is too much to share about your life online, especially your kids. Erik is a good guy and he writes about his dating life under them name DatingDad on Twitter. Erik caught up with us for breakfast and then tagged along on the photowalk. I say tagged along only because he didn’t have a camera not because it was some private photo walk or anything like that because anyone and everyone was welcome to come on the photowalk. The more the merrier on these things I say.
Dave, Erik and I bid farewell to Angus and Samantha and the kiddos as they were driving home and hopefully we timed things well to the naps so they could make good time for a while. Dave, Erik and I walked through Centennial Park down to the World of Coca-Cola. I originally just wanted to the do the Georgia Aquarium but Dave had done it before and had never done the Coca-Cola place, since I had done neither it was no skin of my back so that’s cool, I bought the combo ticket. For that Day let me just say that I should have saved my money and just done the Coke museum or I should have talked up being in Atlanta more on Facebook, I will get to that.
The World of Coca-Cola is a pretty decent tribute to one of the most recognizable brands in the world. We embarked on a monument to consumerism and I thought to myself, only in America do we pay to go learn about a product that we pay for to enjoy, that is if you like Coke, which I do. I also like the art that goes around a product like this. The World of Coke did not disappoint me in that respect. The building was pretty nice. It was also huge. There was an opening foyer with some interesting looking bottles and a guy taking pictures or people in front of the bottles. Then we were ushered into a room to hear some other guy give us a spiel about Coke and the history of Coke. He tried hard, let’s put it that way. It was sort of like Disney-lite-lite-lite. The movie we saw afterwards was excellent though. Very colorful, imaginative and funny. It is a good thing too that this movie was good because the 4D movie wasn’t working at all so we did not see that. We did however see tons of bottles, packaging and art around the Coca-Cola brand. It is interesting to see how these brands portray their beginnings as if they were so easy and almost magical. But that is marketing for you. Trust me I am all for good marketing.
The one thing that I think we were all looking for was some indication of New Coke. We finally found it in the pop art display. So I figure that they were somehow positioning the changing of the formula of Coke as some sort of artistic expression but really it was a way for Coke to rebrand and change its original formula from that of a cane sugar based soda to a high fructose corn syrup formula. Do that while people were in an uproar over “New” Coke and them come back like a hero resurrecting “Classic” Coke, which was actually changed. Marketing.
At the end of the tour you can go around and taste 64 different flavors of Coca-Cola beverages. All of the staff tell you that their favorite a drink called “The Beverly”. Don’t believe them because it is horrible, so what do I do, I drink it and make sure that both Erik and Dave know were to try it too, because I figure hey, we should all get the experience. It was fun to tour and at the very end we got our own bottle of Coke.
I should have stopped there, the World of Coca-Cola was great because there were very few people and lots of room to wander around and I wasn’t going to knock into anyone with my backpack (which weighed about 50lbs+ with all my equipment (note to self, pack lighter next time. Or at least for Blog World Expo)). But, I said goodbye to both Dave and Erik and went over to the Georgia Aquarium. I really wanted to see a whale shark and in my mind I am picturing something much, much bigger than that which I saw but it was still pretty big. The Aquarium was very crowded and I was tired. I didn’t stay long at all, about an hour and that is why I should have just done the World of Coke. I walked around, saw the whale shark and tons of idiots who can’t read and continued to shoot with flash in an aquarium. Do these people even look at their cameras, ever? Flash is great… if you want reflections of all the people gawking at them there fishies but it is no good for getting shots of the fish. Not that my shots were terribly good, I just couldn’t find the balance in the settings to get decent shots. I think the only ones that were halfway decent were done with my Canon SD 800is because I put it in Aquarium mode and shot some of the tuna that were well lit.
So I walked back to the hotel caught the shuttle to the airport and got through security, found something to eat and tweeted a few Evabear photos. I got a response from a woman that I went to college with. She asked if I was in Atlanta and I immediately knew why. She works at the Georgia Aquarium with the animals. It’s been tweeting about being at M3 but not enough posts on Facebook because she would have seen it much sooner. I totally face palmed myself because had we connected I think my aquarium visit would have been much better. Well, too late now, maybe if M3 happens again I will make sure I can connect with her and she can show me great places in the Aquarium to take photos.
I pretty much sacked out the entire flight back home and caught up on my video podcasts. I needed to process the weekends experiences which were so numerous and fun.
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