I went to an Adobe seminar today. It was something that the whole group was supposed to attend. We were going to meet at Quiznos, a deli in downtown Nashville, at 11:30 and then walk over to Rennaisance Hotel just a few blocks away. The seminar was slated to begin at 1:00 PM and we were required to show up a little early to register at the door. No big deal, right?

Well... I didn't think it'd be that big a problem, really. I worked late, late, late last night and well into this morning on a new site redesign for my personal website. The comps look great and I'm quite happy with the direction I'm headed, but when I saw that I had only an hour and a half to get a power nap before 10 AM, I had to stop and crash for a bit. I set my MP3 alarm clock program to wake me up at 10 with "Roads" (the Sour Times remix) by Portishead, turned up my computer's speakers really loud and hit the sack. I was set to rock and roll.

I was woken up by a dog barking in the distance and someone shouting at the damn thing to shut up. I groggily picked up my cell phone to see how much more time I had before Waker97 erupted from the bowels of my computer system. To my utter shock and horror I saw that it was 12:24 PM, and would you like a breath mint with that, sir?

Apparently, turning my speakers up as loud as I did caused them to short out. I never heard the music. When I came over to the system to see if the damn thing was even set properly, I heard "Nobody loves meeeeeeee, it's true..." coming out of the speakers in a small tinny voice. "Shit!" I think was the only thing I could manage at that point.

I threw on some jeans, yesterday's T-shirt and a thin Hawwaian shirt. My hiking boots went on next. I snatched up my Winston Lights (three nails left, dammit. Will that be enough???) and almost jetted out the door before having the presence of mind to check my email first.

A message from the Art Director at Weberize.Com jumped up. They want to see my portolfio. I was in too much of a rush to be elated. I wanted to work with Weberize last year, applied and was duly ignored. Compared to the company I just got fired from, Weberize is like the Holy Grail to me. I didn't even take the time to reply, but it was at the top of my "to do" list when I got back from the seminar.

I bolted out of my cabin and hopped into my car: destination downtown Nashville. I hadn't even gotten the sleep out of my eyes yet and probably stunk to high-heaven, but I was not going to be late and, besides, it's just the 615 members that I'll be sitting with, right? They're pretty easy-going. They'll understand.

I think I made it to the hotel in record time. This is good. In case I'm late for my cousin's wedding tomorrow, which will be at the same hotel, I now know the fastest route. I found a parking space in the hotel's parking garage ($5 for a full day of parking... good thing I had $7.83 on me). I made it to the end of the quickly-dwindling registration line, just before they closed and locked the doors. 200 or more geeks all locked into one room for four hours. Is this safe? I ask you.

I pre-registered the day before yesterday, so I was pretty sure they'd let me in. I wasn't on the list, though. No big deal. Happens all the time. They asked for my business card (I think that's the first time those things actually came in handy!), took it and stapled it to a form I never got the chance to fill out. They promptly handed me a trial version of Adobe's Web Collection and told me that the seminar was just about to begin.

I went through the big double doors and saw The 615 group immediately. They were all talking to one another and having a generally good time. One of the guys saw me, "Hey, Jay. We missed ya at Quiznos."

"Yeah," I said. "I set my alarm on my computer, but my speakers chose today to fry. I'm going to have a nice, short talk with them over the Cumberland River Bridge as soon as we get out. How was lunch?" Asking this question reminded me of the fact that I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours. I was starved, tired, unshowered, agitated, jonesing for a cigarette and generally pissed at the world.

"Lunch was great. Sorry to hear about your troubles, man. Take a seat!"

I looked around and saw that there was only one seat available in our section. Of course, it would have to be the seat next to one of the prettiest women I'd seen in a long while. She stands about 5'3", has black hair, black eyes, soft skin, a small nose, petite body frame and beautiful lips. She wore a black jacket over her white camisole, a black rose-print mini skirt, black calf-length stockings and black shoes. Inwardly I groaned. The fates were consipiring against me. Here I was, the picture of Oscar the Grouch, and I had to sit by a woman that might as well have walked out of my wet dreams. Life sucked, let me tell you.

I sat down and dutifully kept my head low so that my morning breath wouldn't knock her out. We introduced ourselves. Her name is Michelle. I recognized her name from her profile on The 615 website and mentioned my favorite part. "So... you're the one who want to bring 'whirled peas' to the future of design, eh?" I quipped.

She smiled (!!!). "Oh, that. It's just a little bit of my tongue-in-cheek commentary on beauty pageants. Those profile questions read like something from one of those meat-market cow shows. I just couldn't resist. I saw your profile, too. Starvation as a point of inspiration for design... that was cute."

Yep. I sure as hell wasn't going to let her smell my breath- not after calling me cute. Let the girl have her impressions and keep it that way if at all possible. We chatted a bit more until the seminar speaker took the helm and we quieted down.

He went through a whole presentation on Adobe's top products. LiveMotion, Photoshop 6, ImageReady 3, Illustrator 9, Premiere and GoLive. I've worked with most of those products, especially Photoshop, but I did manage to learn a few nifty tricks that I never knew before. Mostly it was usability stuff. It seemed like the seminar speaker was a big fan of drop shadows and slices. He dogged the shit out of Flash 5 when he got into the LiveMotion presentation.

It was my first seminar ever, and all in all, it was okay. They ended up giving away a free copy of all the software in the presentation to one lucky winner (I think she squealed when she heard her name called) and some other people got some (get this) pocket knives. Adobe must be strapped for cash. A software company that gives away potential weapons to designers has to be suffering somewhere. I think I muttered a node title of mine, "When Web Designers Attack: A New Fox Special." No one got the joke except, of course, Michelle. I asked her, quickly, if she'd seen E2 before. She hadn't, but she thought the title was cute. Why-oh-why did I put on jeans instead of taking a few extra moments to put on what I planned on wearing? Ugh.

When the seminar was finally over, nearly everyone bolted like mad cows on stampede. Graphic designers are notorious for having ADHD and if they're made to sit still for longer than 4 hours, ritual homicide could ensue. We all got out before the killing started.

The sun was bright (it had been raining earlier) and my stomach was growling in a language all too familiar. I hopped back into my car, paid the $5 parking fee and made a bee-line to MacDonald's for a Big Mac (still had $2.83 on me, so I was feeling promising). I passed Michelle on the way out of downtown, who had deigned to park far, far away from the hotel. I wanted to offer her a ride to her car, but thought better of it. Traffic was backing up behind me and I didn't want to be an asshole. So I honked, waited for her to look and when she saw me, I waved goodbye. She waved back. God, I hope I didn't reek while sitting next to her. I have some friend who insist that I reek of pheromones, but apparently they haven't caught a whiff of me in the mornings. Well, one has, but that's a whole other story.

I got back home after throwing the last of my money at Ronald MacDonald, responded to the email from Weberize and slept the sleep of the dead.

What a difference a day makes, eh?