Thursday, July 13

2006 NFB Convention Summary

Greetings. Well, now that I'm somewhat rested after my whirlwind of activity over the last few weeks, going directly from work to the NFB convention last week in Dallas, staying a weekend with my parents, and then back to Austin and work, I'm ready to offer up a summary of events during convention. I won't say that I'll write more later, since I've said that before, and only a few times have actually done it, :) Hopefully this weekend will find some more posts on the convention though, because it was a great one. By the way, for those hoping for some convention coverage, my apologies. I thought I was going to do some, but then I decided I'd just take some notes and fill in the gaps later. With that, here are but a few highlights or memorable things:

The hotel. As many may know, we stayed at the Hilton Anatole, used to be the Wyndham Anatole. It was definitely nice--and large. It was said that from heel to toe, the distance between the two ends of the hotel measured a quarter mile. That's a lot of walking. Because of this distance, and the wide open feeling of walking across the various portions, with little if any reference points, there were more than a few times when I ended up staying on one side of the property, just because it took too long to navigate back to the other side. Walking was one thing, but navigating was something totally different.

There were two things I quickly learned from that experience though. First, canes, and people, can appear at any time, even if you think you're in the middle of nowhere. For instance, you can be walking along, minding your own business, and suddenly find a cane between your legs and someone running into you, even if you had not heard them approach. The other thing I learned was that even if you're standing against a wall, you will be hit by someone.

The Kurzweil-NFB Reader. This will probably be given a larger area, or even its own post, since it was really neat seeing all the things that surrounded this new device.

Dancing at the night club. This might be given its own area too. Then again, as the saying goes, "what happens in Dallas, stays in Dallas."

Texas registration. Texas registered 400 people at convention. In the annual convention attendance competition, Texas beat out Maryland. This has happened before I believe, but never by such a large margin. I think by the end of the week, Maryland had around 225 registered. That's quite a jump from that to 400. Total convention registration was 2,885, and that's not counting anyone who decided not to register.

Opening general session. The first general session is always very fun and exciting, since its the start of the general session part of the convention, or when everyone gathers in a ballroom and hears from various people on topics of interest to the organized blind. This year was particularly notable and fun. Look for more on that later as well.

Changes in the National Board. After nearly 30 years, both Diane McGeorge and Joyce Scanlyn stepped down from their respective positions on the national board of the NFB. They both got standing ovations, as they should. Diane's move was especially note worthy for me, since it was the Colorado Center for the Blind that I attended for 7 months back in 1999, that Diane started in 1988. It was at the 1998 national convention in Dallas, where I made contact with Diane and she returned a series of calls from me, and invited me up to Denver to visit the CCB. In other words, Diane had a big role in helping me get more from my rehabilitation, practice some much needed skills and confidence, and, not the least of which, kept me going to the NFB conventions. I might have gone to the CCB if I had not met her, but the chances of that happening would have certainly been a lot less if we had not met. I have a running line that I say to her whenever we talk, occasionally at these conventions, partly kidding but always serious: "Thanks for calling me back."

Nana's bar and restaurant. Nana's is a 5-star restaurant at the top of the Anatole, on the 27th floor. Adjacent to the restaurant is a bar with comfortable chairs, a nightly jazz band, and is probably the best kept secret of that hotel. I only went there once, but in talking with a coworker, we both agreed that not many people were there when we went.

Taking pictures. Since I've got the Nokia 6682 cell phone, I've also got a great camera. There were a couple of times when I wanted to take some pictures, once at the Nana's bar and the other when at the Sensory Safari. If I can figure out how to do so, perhaps I'll put them up on my website. For those that don't know, the Sensory Safari is an exhibit put together by Safari Club International, of stuffed and mounted animals that they've collected. I try to go to this every other year to see what they have for that year. This year, they had a lot of animals I've never heard of before, such as a golden takin from China. Another thing they had was the head of a black rhino. That was quite interesting as well. There were also the usual animals, such as an elephant's foot and tusk, a chicken, some bears, and others. The Safari Club always does a good job at the Sensory Safari, in their selection of animals, and in getting plenty of their own volunteers to walk around with you and tell you what the animals were. Or, in my case this year, to help you take some great pictures.

I'm sure there are other highlights, or lowlights, but I'll save them for next time. Until later.

No comments:

Post a Comment