Dude. Montgomery is way cooler than Hawaii.
-me to Mark
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- It's totally hot and humid but I'm trotting along aside Giovanna past Old Alabama Town and on our way to the Capitol.
Running is the perfect way to get oriented to a strange new city and Montgomery totally fits the bill. The capitol is huge. The Confederate flag -- not some politically correct variant but the real thing -- flies on a corner of a monument on the lawn of the Capitol, which has white buildings that stretch on forever. A star marks the place on the steps where Confederate president Jefferson Davis once stood.
Not too far away is the civil rights monument, with a quote from MLK talking about how the waters of justice flow. Only the fountain that usually provides the water over the engraved quote hasn't been working for a week or so, a security guard tells us. Meanwhile, downtown is anchored by the huge buildings of the state's retirement system.
Mark, who once worked here, never said anything about any of this.
We're here with another co-worker for a journalism conference that's really been excellent so far. We all got up early and I picked everyone up and drove the 2-1/2 hour drive from Atlanta, my new car purring like the black cat that it is.
The coaches debunk the inverted pyramid style and challenge lots of things held dear in journalism -- like story critiques, e-mail praise from managers and flat writing styles that drown out voice and excitement.
It's totally like a short version of poker camp. It's good to take a break from what you're doing every now and then, break down what you know and soak up what you don't, in order to improve at your pursuit.
Now that I settle into my hotel room for the evening, I size up the square work table that my laptop is on and lament that I didn't bring my chip set and announce to all the journalists that I would have a game in my hotel room. A chance to bring the whales to you. Chip Reese-style.
Instead, I'll have to settle for the comfort of electronic toasters. And thinking about my writing game. I'd previously thought that maybe I didn't need my broadband card, but them's crazy thoughts.