Wednesday, May 7, 2008

US Trip Day 3

After the 2nd enjoyable day in St. Louis, jet lag was surprisingly kind to me, as I woke up early enough to get ready for the latter part of BABW's planning session. Since people from BABW commented the previous night that I was a little overdressed, I decided to sport a different jacket and not wear a tie. I still look way formal than my usual self because the rest of my packed clothes were just t-shirts and jeans.

Maru and I had breakfast downstairs like yesterday. The crazy Frima boys picked us up in their van rental and we headed for the Bearquarters once again.

After a few initial pleasantries, we began the 2nd half of the planning session rather quickly. BABW really stick to their love of "furry friends" in their office facility. They allow pets in their office and seemingly treat them the same way like normal human employees. One of the resident pet dogs in their office, Milford, even has his own sofa/lounge area. And get this, Milford even has his own business card. His official BABW position in the company is "Chief Dawg".

This 2nd day of the planning session was a long one compared to the first day. We broke up into several smaller groups a number of times, brainstorming on different aspects of their Virtual World that can be improved upon. It was amazing that they set the stage for each group activity with themes and motifs that lead you to maintain the "bearriffic" BABW culture. I was surprised of their initial hesitation on the Virtual World the previous day, especially when these brainstorming session were set-up to ensure that they keep the BABW thematic experience in mind.

Build-A-Bear water, I found it funny that their bottled water stuck to the BABW theme as well. It tasted like normal water. Don't worry, I didn't start growing fur or anything like that when I drank it. LOL!

After a very long, yet very positive day of brainstorming ideas. Carrie and Dori compiled everybody's great ideas (even the post-it notes to flesh-out all the ideas). An online survey was later produced in order to vote on which ideas to prioritize on for the immediate future of the Virtual World.

BABW had a treat for us BABW vendors (Frima and DME). They gave us all tickets to the Cardinals vs. Astros baseball game scheduled later that night. So we went back to our respective hotel rooms to rest a bit, while trying not to pass out due to the jet lag. We then met up with the Frima boys and headed downtown to the baseball stadium.

When we arrived at the stadium, it took us quite a while to locate the nice box seats that BABW provided us. It started to rain heavily when we got to the stadium so the game was delayed 2 hours. I found it funny that they placed a large tarpulin looking sheet over the span of the entire baseball diamond. The first thought that came to mind was to head down to the field and play "slip 'n slide" on that large tarpulin. Dave mentioned that there was one time that someone did exactly that while dodging all the stadium security personnel as he "slipped 'n slid" across the large tarpulin sheet. I was tempted to do the same. But given the cold and the fact that I'm in a foreign country that might imprison me, I decided not to go ahead with it. LOL!

Nintendo Wii gaming in the box seats room was crazy. I didn't challenge anybody to a round of Wii Sports. I didn't want them to feel bad after I kick their ass so. I wasn't the DME Wii Sports Champion for 2007 for nothing. LOL!

The box seats had a room behind it solely dedicated to BABW folk. It had plenty of free food and drinks for you to sink you teeth in and quench your thirst. And the room was heated of course, because the temperatures were getting borderline cold even for me, who loves cold weather. Practically everybody in the stadium was sporting some kind of red shirt aside from myself and Maru. They really seem to take their Cardinals baseball really seriously in St. Louis.

After waiting for 2 hours, the rain finally subsided enough to begin the game. I watched in the blaring cold as the field crew began their long process of packing up the tarpulin sheet, while avoiding all the accumulated water on the sheet from spilling onto the baseball diamond. After 30 more minutes of tarpulin sheet packing, the finally started the game.

Dave and a few other BABW folk assumed I didn't know a thing about baseball. But little do they know, I was previously following MLB for a number of years back in highschool. Maru understood the baseball rules explained to her by Dave. But her interest lay on enjoying the company of BABW folk more than the game itself. LOL!

Since it was cold outside, I was practically alone sitting outside the heated room behind me. I was focused on watching the game, so I didn't mind the cold so much. I found the cold temperature relaxing, even though I constantly rubbed my hands and arms as each blaring cold breeze wooshed by me. Carrie sat beside me for a while and kept me company while watching. Her warm personality exuded so much, that I ended up focusing on my conversation with her, more than watching the game.

The Frima boys had their flight back to Quebec scheduled at 6:30AM the following day. So they had to leave before the game ended. Since they were our ride back to the hotel, we had to leave the game before its completion as well. It was very unfortunate as I was getting into watching the game. We said our thanks to all the BABW folks and bid them adieu. Right before we left, the game was at the bottom of the 4th inning, with the Cardinals leading 2 runs to zip. I have yet to check till this day who won that game. Perhaps I should do that right after writing this post. LOL!

The Frima boys drove back to the place where they rented their van. Pierre accidentally yanked out one of the handles at the back right before we arrived at the car rental place. That was totally hilarious since you have to pay for any damages made on a rental vehicle. He just tried to hide that fact that the handle was damaged as much as he could, and we all crossed our fingers that the car rental personnel wouldn't notice. The lady that inspected the van didn't notice a thing. We all just smiled at each other when she didn't even open the door to the back of the van to see the damaged handle. We softly muttered to each other, "Well done".

We took a complimentary shuttle back to our respective hotels. We bid the Frima boys adieu as well. Pierre reminded me that we should continue our good business conversation from the previous night. I told him I would get his contact information from Luc and continue our discussion remotely.

Before I tucked myself in bed and went to sleep, I smiled and gave myself another pat on the back. It was definitely a successful 2 day planning session with the client. And I thoroughly enjoyed the day, despite not finishing the Cardinals game.



dyosa said...

i want to see you in a suit. i can't imagine you in a suit, honestly. so how many suits did you bring with you?

i love that their "Chief Dawg" has a business card :-)

Chi said...

there's a sleeping dog in the middle of the conference room! how cool is that?!

sundowndos said...

i only brought one suit really... hehe... my dad said you can wear a couple of times on the same trip... it seems to be an assumed custom with business travellers... I won't be caught dead in a suit again... ugh... hehehe

yeah, milford was just ferreting around the conference room... and nobody seemed to think the dog was a distraction to the meeting... hehehe