Saturday, August 25, 2007

S2 Encounters at SD

Phew I finally reached Pierre SD around midnight. I also had the honor of stopping by the rising star of SD 'Watertown'. I had no time to rehearse the demo so I quickly went to bed. And if it was not enough, I was told that only if I had replied to an email, I would have had my tickets and not suffer through the ordeal. I was just left wondering only if someone knew that a hotel reservation in Pierre without an airline reservation does not get you too far. Yes only if I had checked in a day earlier, yes only if I had done my own reservations and yes only if I had planned not to go to SD all of this will not have happened!!!
Anyway, the demo morning came in quite early and I managed my way to the demo hall. I was not only low on energy but anxious and nervous. Dr VG and AG had worked through the previous evening to address last minute kinks in the demo. At the same time the demo team had been bit by the flu bug with JG totally looking done and couple of other team followed soon. Anyway, the demo on Day 1 went fine and we planned to go out for bite before we went back to the hotel to get some rest. As is the case most time with CNSI contingent in these endeavors we had our first reportable encounter. One brave soul on our team forgot that there is a swimming pool at the hotel and decided to swim across the Missouri river. And yes he managed to battle the undercurrents and stay alive and show up on the dinner table. In order to celebrate his survival he drank a liquid cocaine shot (details of this cannot be published on the blog). To conclude day 1 I will have to share that that the whole town was dead by 8:00 since couple of the team members were roaming on SD streets trying to figure out a dinner place at 8:30 PM and the only thing that was open was a 'Blind Casino'.

The second day demo started with Allan waking up to high fever and wisely deciding to take a couple of hour’s additional rest before his presentation in the afternoon. The second day demos also went well and we were wrapping our session with Q&A with the state team. The fact that our team was very honest, forthcoming and open to the state with the questions was a pleasant and a big positive of the demo. Though few one liners like ‘I stood up Maine’, ‘in the past you must have been running a dating service’ stood out. But the real fun was in store for us in the evening. We had our entire team on the streets which had a big title board ‘The Cow Town’. Yes we were definitely new meat on the streets. As we made our way to a drinks place, we were stared at by everyone. It appeared that everyone at the bar knew everyone and finding this new bunch of people was definitely strange for them. After having some drinks we went to the Italian restaurant for food where JG ordered a white wine which was red in color. Are white wines not supposed to be white JG!!! Well you don’t question the sales man. After a lovely dinner we moved over to yet another bar (YAB) where quickly one of our team members became the talk of the entire woman crowd in the bar. They were all for him or as it is said they were all over him. We then moved over to YAB which had a dance floor and there as usual I was chanting ‘Punjabi’ in a town which had experienced their first brown skin 48 hours ago. But not for this dance floor we would not have discovered the hidden talents of our former deputy chief architect, ex-implementation manager. The person definitely made it a point to be on the dance floor trying to swing his way with every girl on the floor. It did not matter whether the girl had a man with him; our friend was swinging his way. Before I close this blog entry, I just got an update that I missed the highlight of the nite at the bar. State of SD runs a public shuttle service to drop all the drunk people from the bars to their houses. The service runs after midnight till three in the morning. But the highlight was that our ex marine colleague acted as a Good Samaritan when he helped broke up a cat fight. Two girls went at each other locks and barrel before our friend tried to intervene. Blood flowed, bones cracked all for our deputy chief architect ....PM. Anyway, it was three eventful days and hopefully we are given the opportunity by the state to not only act as a good Samaritan but also as a good IT partner.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

S2 AirTravel Saga: Yet another lost Cause

Here I am sitting at Barnes and Noble in the Mall of America typing this blog. Well I am neither on a vacation trip nor on a fact finding mission in Minneapolis. I am sitting here because my travel plans were totally bungled. In fact there was no plan since when I landed this morning at Dulles airport, I was welcomed by the NW assistant saying that I don't have a reservation. I forked out$1000.00 for a $ 400.00 trip. I guess I can relate with the advertisement where I am sitting to the person next to me who is traveling at half the fare I paid. Anyway I am destined to go to Pierre South Dakota. I guess the reservations can only take me to Minneapolis since I cannot get the connecting flight. The connecting flight has a weight limit and can only accommodate 26 people instead of the 32 seats. I guess either the engineers did not design the plane right ( not surprised by it) or they failed to measure the exponential growth in the waistline of the American population ( I guess M Moore has something to say on this). Either way an empty seat went to Pierre and not me. I am supposed to spend 8 hours in Minneapolis. There were my good collegaues who were volunteering to give away their seats but the damn computers came in between. They did not have menu option called 'Volunteer Swap'. I guess the next generation airline reservation softwares will have this option. I guess by then we would have virtual travel and don't need to spend time praying for the flights and the bags. On the note of that i just discovered that my bags reached ahead of me. They are already there in SD. I guess the airlines can claim ahead of time arrival even though it is for the bags and not the actual passenger. There is always something positive in an episode. My takeaway was 'Choose which one you want to reach on time : Bag and Yourself'. I chose the former on this trip... More on the trip later...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

S2 Encounters at the MMIS Conference : Lighter Side of Things

This years conference at San Diego was much anticipated since after a long time it was happening in a city period. :)
The conference started with United bungling my bags. For one of the rare occasions, I was ahead of time for the flight but for no good reason the bag felt the need of travel via Denver and not directly to San Diego. Yes with my unique situation as a Sikh, I was stranded to my hotel room for the first afternoon before I could reveal my presence to the rest of the world. I know I know , dressing up for a Sikh man requires more resources and more time than a woman sometimes.
Anyway, the night was spend at CNSI hospitality suite. Our jokes increased in laughter (not proportional to the the quality of the joke) with every drink. Of course we experienced the Marriott rule which was a 2 strike rule ( I guess Mexico baseball rules are different). And is with such settings, we were forced to leave the room not by the Marriott staff but by the room owner in a polite way.

The much anticipated Arabian Nights evening host by CNSI started on a slow note with the dancers doing some slow body flexing moves. The attendees were busy munching food and enjoying the eCAMS cocktail with mixed reviews. The surprise started with the snakes on the floor..Ooops around the bellies of the dancers. It was a jaw dropping moment for some. A run away moment for others. As the evening progressed, the Punjabi dance made its way and the CNSI team made its own stage for a workout on the dance floor.
The evening was not over since the team trickled over to the roof top bar( Altitude at Marriott). I guess it is said that being cute sometimes misfires. One of our colleagues JS discovered when he asked a group of girls how to take the lift to the Roof Top. Well the short answer was 'Its not Rocket Science; press the button and it takes you there'. The evening had more in store for us. We were introduced to a stranger girl from Italy by JS and once she settled in with us, JS did not mutter a word. I guess we spoiled the fun. Well after exhausting our options at the Roof Top we were forced to choose our rickshaw back by BR. Well it was fun till we reached our destination where we paid $20 per person which was 20 times more than we paid going the other way. At if that was not enough they were asking for tip. Go Figure. The saving grace was that we had in our accompany the financial power of BoJK. We all were in as much shock but we said it is good as long as our friend BR enjoyed the ride. You will believe that this would be end of Day 1 but not to be. We went to the hospitality suite where we were subject to a therapy session and brotherly love was exchanged in a most intriguing way.

The highlight of the next day was the official announcement of CNSI Booth Babe. The award went to 'Gino'. Yeah the girls were disappointed since they did not anticipate this competition. He not only graced our booth with his effective presence but was shoulder to shoulder with his look alike brother in the neighboring booth of 4TG. I think it runs in the blood. Then there was tennis. JM came with the brilliant idea and I borrowed running shoes from Gino to stretch my muscles. Yes it was weary and its impact was felt in days to come but the highlight was the JG move on the racket course. Came up with the right warm up, stretches himself... has all the moves of a star on the field and swing his serve in style but alas...the ball never made it to the net. The evening was concluded with a dinner at one of the expensive restaurants. We were split into two groups and ate some expensive cold soup and equally dry fillet mignon. I guess it is rightly said that in an expensive restaurant a large group is not a good idea.

The Day 3 was when our proposal team emerged from the confines of the South Tower room. We had forgotten that they were at Conference. This was definitely a proposal lockdown 2500 miles away. The team finally decided it was time to return back and chose to carry their bags on Old town streets. As they left we were in the hands of JG. The ex SD native JG took us to the beach front. It was not surprising that it took 1 hour and 10 minutes to reach the beach which was just 10 minutes away. And to make the ride musical we had the background music by JM snoring every now and then at the back of the car. I never knew that nostalgia leads to memory loss. Yes we are still searching for the illusive McDonalds on the beach front. May be next time JG. ... But the final honors went to JG when in his nostalgic mood, he took us to .... spot. Since this blog is rated PG I will let this remain as ....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

S2 Escapades at San Diego

You can read my latest blogs over the last few days and the next coming days at the following site . I am using the MMIS Conference blog site as a more focussed blogging site on MMIS Conference and related industry. Don't miss some exciting blog write ups and some live coverage from the MMIS conference at San Diego. Next blog update on this site after August 20th.

Monday, August 06, 2007

S2 Travels: Coming to you Live from 2007 MMIS Conference at San Diego

I will attempt to enthuse the blogging phenomenon in the MMIS space this year. I will be attending the 2007 MMIS Conference from August 13-August 17th at San Diego and I intend to use the blogging tool to share information updates from the MMIS conference. Will it be useful for the reader community. Well I don't know about that. I will try my best to make it a good read, invoke some thought in the minds of the reader, intrigue the reader with my perspectives. It has been now a regular annual event for me and my company CNSI to attend. We are all excited at CNSI since we continue to make a difference in the industry with our solution offerings and this year we are planning to give a preview of our new user interface.

Personally, I continue to make my 2 cents of contribution by doing sessions that challenge the status quo. It is always nice to see that the ideas raised last year by us are being accepted across the vendor community. Last year, CNSI led the way with our pragmatic roadmap to RHIO integration. The 'Inside-Out approach' trend is now being expanded in two separate vendor tracks. It goes to show that we can make a difference.

This year, I am co-presenting with Pitney Bowes on Monday August 13 at 3:30 PM. Even though we are running our session in parallel with MITA and a RHIO track, I hope we have audience that can listen to our message. We hope to make people pause and reevaluate their approach to Communications. As we usher and embrace the new social interaction models, we need to shed our archaic model of communication in the Medicaid industry.
Also, I will like to welcome other contributors to this blog, since this poor soul cannot be there all the time at all the events. As we are in era of information overflow, the MMIS organizers are doing their contribution by conducting 30 odd sessions with diverse topics in three days. Good Lord! I just wished I was back in the good old days :)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Escapades of S2: Daddy Day Care Saga Continues...

I thought the worst was behind me. We all like to think that way but alas I was wrong. I was like a fatigued runner hoping this is the end of the race . But not to be I am here for yet another day. I think one of the most burning issues that we need for the upcoming elections is to create a free, interoperable, open society for Nannies. Yes she ditched us for 4 days in the week. And yes as in round robin fashion, I am back to take care of my darling angel. Yes if I have to go by my experience of Tuesday, I have more than my hands full. I know it will sound so cliche, but it takes energy, perseverance and patience to deal with an infant. Diaper changing was an adventure with turnaround time of 8 minutes ( compared to 1 minute) l that made my daughter staring at me and saying 'Daddy, whats the matter with you? I can't believe your boss has not fired you for such inefficiency. My daughter in the interest of hunger and starvation swallowed food which I failed to warm it after pulling it out from the refrigerator( Dah..well it was not on my wife's cheat sheet). And yes the fact that I gave her apple juice without mixing it with water was less of my problem since she was out of he Daddy Day care by the time her some stomach disturbances were apparent. Come on, I thought kids should get pure adulterated food. Here, i am supposed to mix it water. Hello!. Anyway, as the time flew, I got more comfortable with the fact that I am out of my league here. Yeah as someone said tomorrow is yet another day at Daddy Day Care :)