The trip to Newark and then on to Florham Park was uneventful. Smooth sailing via Continental and picked up at the International drop off by an wonderful driver I have had before. John, or Johnnie as he calls himself, is an engaging person who is passionate about a hobby he, his grandfather, his great great had, coonhunting. Johnnie breeds, trains and runs a pair of coonhounds, bringing in sixty pelts a season and proudly trading them for a fur coat for his wife. He loves doing that...picking up the phone, calling the furrier in the Catskills (who is also the grandson of the furrier his dad did business with) and telling him that he and his wife would be up to make the trade. His pride in the closet of fur coats his wife has was palpable...and his love of his dogs and their world made the trip so quick it was remarkable. John's dogs are from the dogs his father and grandfather had. He told me all about flea and tick prevention, their food, and the way he handles them "I have soft hands". He told me about the relationships he has with farmers in the New Jersey countryside that allow him to work his dogs in their fields ""They"[the raccoons] love corn fields"--and how those relationships are generational as well. He was going to swap dogs with a friend of his from Maryland--taking his puppy and leaving his younger dogs to teach them. He prides himself in his soft approach--playing with the dog evolving to training and learning. He believes that six weeks with a puppy can move its behavior from being disinterested to really wanting to go out and tree the raccoon. It was great getting a dose of him. I love talking to drivers, its always a rich slice.

The meeting and my overnight was at the Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center. The hotel is very nice, very comfortable and accomodating. However, the conference part of the deal was GREAT. First off, they have a floor or two of conference rooms. Each room is equipped perfectly with plenty of supplies, water etc. No drippy water pitchers, no overdo of anything. There was plenty of electric for the powerbooks that were snapped open. The coffee "thing" which generally is to the side of the conference room (often really looking bad,messy and stinky) was set up outside in a central coffee station that had everything you would want in appropriate (no passionflowers or cut fruit decorations), business style. No mess, no fuss. Then, at lunch, instead of the clattering teacart carrying stacks of plastic buffet boxes of messy sandwiches no one wants with huge slice and bake cookies no one should eat...with more stinky drinks and coffee...we were ushered downstairs to a generous dining room with tablecloths and service to help ourselves to an enormous, high quality, buffet with everything from perfect greenbeans, to soup, to the big dinner to tidbits for lunch. Everything was beautiful and accomodating with the service being on the mark and receeding. They even had compostable paper and plasticware for lunch. Again, knowing the needs of business and delivering it. And with all this lovely treatment, the meeting went smoothly and was effective.

The purpose of the meeting was to talk about the document review process--with many of the big marketing and communications managers/directors, some doctors and lawyers, writers and administrators all working to hammer out a better process. It was a bit frustrating as a corner of the room kept on focusing on how understaffed they were and how they couldnt do their work owning this process--and were unable to get their heads out of now and into "what if" which was unfortunate. If I had any criticisms, it was that they were not managed bettter to keep the tone of the meeting from kvetching to actual dreaming. Ah well.... this is why I like being on my own.

Then back to the airport, sharing a ride with a really great guy, an australian who runs the marketing and sales for a very cool little esoteric lab that develops very high end tests-- one current splash is the H1N1 virus test that is a boost to my client's bottom line. He was insightful, funny and poor guy, tired as he had taken the red eye to get to this meeting in New Jersey and was off to Ohio for a meeting the next day. Its for guys like that that these business style services and kind treatment at the airport helps to move him forward. Had an uneventful time at the airport...reading my library of books on the now established Kindle (and downloaded Dante's Inferno for FREE as its one of those classics that are free)--with a quick ride home to Ithaca sitting with a guy who is involved in textbook publishing. It was a fun chat to make the time go faster!.

Erich is home with the flu, so it's just me today.
Lots to do...but first, coffee and the scanner!