Monday, July 19, 2010

Back from the NAD Conference in Philadelphia!

So I'm posting this a bit late! Whoa... What a week... I was out at the NAD convention in Philadelphia, PA, with Jamie Berke. We took Amtrak from the Alexandria, VA, station to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. Then SEPTA to the Marriott Hotel, two stops away on the 13th Street station. It was pretty much a relaxed ride getting there.

The hotel's Grand Ballroom was used for events like the College Bowl, Miss Deaf America, the Opening Ceremony, the Closing Ceremony, and a few others. They set up large screens on both sides of the stage and captioned the proceedings underneath the video of those on stage.

And whoo... This convention has been like a who's who here and there. I had the interesting pleasure of "bashing heads" with Google's Ken Harrington during the College Bowl, trying to answer the trivia questions. Ed Waterstreet was there as well, though I didn't get a chance to talk with him. I did have a conversation with Jack Gannon (Deaf Heritage author), his wife, and Yerker Anderson (World Federation of the Deaf) during a Gallaudet breakfast Friday morning. RIT/NTID had their breakfast Thursday morning. Current Gallaudet President Alan Hurwitz and his wife were there as well, and they were often seen walking around talking with others. RIT/NTID's interim dean Gerald Buckley was there also. Karen Putz was there as well. We talked briefly about the Steak and Shake case as well as other things. Meeting up here and there with NAD's Kirsten Poston was good, as well as attending her workshops. There's others I've probably forgotten.

It was good seeing some old friends here and there, including someone I'd not seen for about 15-20 years from when I lived in Louisville, KY. NAD will have their next convention in 2012 out there in Horse Cave, KY. It's not too far from Cave City, which has some cave tours.

Update: The NAD convention is actually in Louisville, KY, July 3-7, 2012. The Horse Cave event, DeaFestival, is this September 3-5. Somehow, I got my information screwed up...

The workshops I attended had some good information, some that I knew, some that I didn't. Jamie and I had our workshop on HR3101/S3304 and that was fairly well attended. Then the next day, COAT's Rosaline Crawford and Jenifer Simpson had their workshop on the same thing, but it was more on how the two bills are different, what needs to happen for the bills to pass, and how they fit into the National Broadband Plan.

ZVRS had an invite-only event that was pretty well-attended at the nearby Hard Rock Cafe. Imagine being able to use VRS with your cellphone. That's exactly what the iZ is, but it uses the iPhone4. Limited, I know, but plans are being made for other phones to use it as well. I tried calling someone as well, but seems they weren't home, dangit. Amy Cohen Efron attended and she posted about it - ZVRS, AT&T, and Apple created iZ!

RIT/NTID also had an invite-only event where we had light foods and met the College Bowl contestants. Gallaudet had another invite-only event after the College Bowl. Jamie took a pic of Bob Weinstock there after someone poured some water or Gatorade or other liquid on him. Deafnation posted a video about it, NAD 2010: College Bowl Finals.

One landmark to visit when in the area is the Reading Terminal Market. It's a combo food court, grocery store, and gift shop, not to mention a candy shop, all under one roof. Amy Cohen Efron commented "I died and went to food heaven." It's literally foodie heaven. There's servers of Indian, Greek, Italian, Amish, and regular foods. Want to have a famous Philly Cheesesteak? That's where it started. That was one good sandwich. Only downside is that they close at 6 on Monday to Saturday, 5 on Sunday.

There's some other good restaurants in the area, and there was even a 7-11 across the street. A little walking time often got us to some of the good places around, including a gelato place called Capogiro and an Indian place called Bindi's. There was also Zio's Pizza along 13th Street which sold pizza by the slice. They had some pretty good stuff.

Other than the museums and City Hall nearby with easy access to the SEPTA stations, there's the large underground Mall underneath the Reading Railroad station which has FOUR floors of retail shops. The lower floor has two food courts. They close at 7...

The weather didn't quite cooperate much of the time there, It was over 100 degrees and rained part of the day on the last day. That heat wave made it hazardous for some people to walk longer distances for sightseeing. But the other good thing is that the entire hotel and area including SEPTA was quite wheelchair accessible for those attendees using wheelchairs and scooters.

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