stoutfellow: (Winter)
It's been quite a while since my last substantive post - over a month, I see. A good chunk of that was my trip to San Diego, another the first week of classes, a third the lack of a gap between the two....

So. (Sorry, D.) The most important thing from before the trip was a couple of visits to Best Buy, from which I came home with a laptop computer, a new landline phone, and a cell phone. The laptop I bought for two main reasons. One was so as not to have to borrow D's computers while I was in SD. (He'd given me permission to bookmark links on his computers, but I feel uncomfortable with that. I still had to piggyback on his WiFi, though.) The other... I've downloaded or received by e-mail quite a number of recipes. Unfortunately, they're on my desktop, and I have no printer at the moment; if I want to use them, I have to hand-copy them. Now, I can carry the laptop, recipes included, into the kitchen with me.

I'm sure I'll come up with other uses for the laptop as time passes.

The landline? My old phone was, well, getting old. The keypad buttons were no longer reliable; sometimes I'd have to push a button several times to get it to register, and sometimes the connection would drop before I could get the whole number in. Also, the screen for the caller ID was tiny, and it was getting harder and harder for these aging eyes to read it. So I got a new phone, with a great big screen (and a voice to go with it). As an unexpected bonus: unlike the old phone, if a caller doesn't leave a message, this phone doesn't take one. (Hearing "Message #n. :silence: End of message" gets really annoying, especially after returning from a trip to find 87 messages waiting.) I've put it in my den, which shortens response time, most of the time. Right now it's sitting on top of two adjacent stacks of books, themselves on a chair. I've got to clean off the big table so I can put the phone there.

As for the cell phone, I've had too many flight-delay mishaps over the past few years, and I'm fed up. Now, if something goes wrong, I can call D from the/an airport and let him know what's up. Of course, I neglected to put his number in the phone before leaving. I did put C's and E's in, though, and was able to handle this trip's flight-delay mishap. (My flight from St. Louis was delayed three freaking hours. They did rebook a connecting flight for me, so points to them for that, but there's a huge difference before getting in at 7PM and at 11PM, especially with two hours time difference.)

Lots more to talk about, but I'll try to stick to one topic a post.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Friday, August 14. My flight to San Diego via Houston was scheduled to take off at 2:36 CDT, so I called the cab company at about noon, and about half an hour later I went out to wait. 1:00 rolled around and they still hadn't shown, so I ducked back into the house to write down a couple of my brother's phone numbers - I'm not going to relive last December's fiasco! When I went back out, the cabbie was waiting.

On the way to the airport, the cabbie asked me (as they usually do) where I was going. I told him: San Diego, and then Spokane for the SF convention. After a few minutes, he asked, "Ever read anything by a guy named Zelazny?" He was delighted when I admitted to it; he'd read the Chronicles of Amber (both series, I think), but had never heard of Lord of Light. We moved on to Stephen King; I said that the only King I'd read was the first few books of the Wizard and Glass series. He grinned hugely and asked my opinion of Blaine.... We continued to chat about SF until we got to the airport, in plenty of time for my flight.

I hurried to the nearest self-serve kiosk, ran my card and entered the other information. The kiosk informed me that they had no record of any reservation....

I repeated my previous actions. (Hey, maybe I hit the wrong key?) Nope. No reservation. I caught the eye of one of the counter attendants and described the situation. "I had a reservation on flight ###." "Oh, that was canceled!" She punched keys, and told me that she could get me to San Diego (via San Francisco) by 11 PM. Having no other option, I agreed to it, and accepted the boarding passes.

After passing through security, I began looking for anything phone-like with which I could call my brother. He'd arranged for a limo service to meet me at the airport and drive me to his place, but with my arrival down-shifted by almost four hours, some rearranging needed to be done.

Why didn't you call him on your cell phone?
:glare: Check your assumptions.

I finally found a telephone, which advertised that credit-card and collect calls were possible. I picked up, punched the number agreeing to a credit card charge, and entered the card number. The mechanical voice then asked me to turn the card over and give it the four numbers at the end of the signature strip.

The hell? Four numbers? The security code is three digits long. I tried several possible interpretations, which were met with incomprehension and a final "Please hang up." Which I did.

After stewing for a few minutes, I tried again, going for a collect call. Did you know you can't make a collect call to a cell phone? Fortunately, I'd also taken down his land-line number, and we finally connected.

The rest of the day was uneventful (although, I'll tell you, flying over the mid-continent mountains with the Sun on the horizon makes for a beautiful view - dull red on the western slopes, blue-black on the east). The limo driver and I chatted about music on the way to my brother's house (I said something about the irony of Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen" coming out shortly before Aretha made her big comeback), and my brother was there to greet me at the end, despite the late hour. (Wotthehell, he's retired and it was a Friday night.)

And that was How I Went on My Vacation....
stoutfellow: (Three)
All my bags aren't packed, but that's all that's left to do. In a few hours, I'll be on my way to the old homestead.

I just found out why I haven't been able to find my camera.

The temperature here hasn't gotten up to freezing for the last four or five days. Tomorrow, of course, it will do so, and this will persist for several more days. Not that it matters to me....

The dogsitters met Buster and Gracie on Wednesday. One of them works at PetSmart; she accurately guessed which of the two wasn't completely housebroken, with no clue except breed.



Dec. 18th, 2009 01:48 pm
stoutfellow: (Three)
All is in readiness. The statistics finals have been graded and the grades submitted. (The geometry tests will have to wait. Fortunately, with the new system, I can submit grades from San Diego.) I've cleaned almost all of the perishables out of the fridge and pantry: no bread, milk, soda, eggs, bacon, lunch meat, cereal, coffee.... (I had just eaten the last of the bread for breakfast when I realized that I didn't have anything left for lunch. Quick run to the grocery store....) I've selected the books I'm taking with me (Anathem, Princeps' Fury, The War of the End of the World, Going Postal, and Team of Rivals) and packed them away, alongside the clothing and toiletries. The camera is in the suitcase, and the recharger, just in case.

In about an hour and a half, I'll call the cab to take me to Lambert Field. It'll be another eight hours before I reach my father's house, what with layovers and such; I'll probably be asleep on my feet by then. (Dad will probably be asleep, too, but my brother will wait up for me.)

I'm starting to feel the usual guilt about Buster and Gracie; this will be the first time I've left them alone for more than a weekend. But they'll be home, the sitter will make sure they have food and water, and so on.

I hope they'll be OK.

Home Again

Jan. 5th, 2009 07:56 pm
stoutfellow: (Winter)
Well, vacation's over; I'm back home. The flight was routine but long (I got most of the way through a Turtledove novel...); on the taxi ride home, the driver didn't know the way and I got confused, so we wound up having to backtrack quite a bit. Adventures notwithstanding, I'm home, and happy to be there. Work to be done....

Addendum: 22 messages on my answering machine (none of any significance) and 1181 in my e-mail box (virtually all of some importance).
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
On Monday, the convention was over, but my vacation wasn't, so...

Aftermath )
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
My first full day at the convention was Thursday the 7th.

Day One )
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
I don't have much to say about my visit to San Diego. I saw most of the family and got some pictures of two of the great-niblings; other than that, it was a quiet and, above all, restful few days - which I needed, in between the busy-ness of MathFest and Denvention.

My flight landed in Denver at about 5:30 local time. Moments after we deplaned and the plane was unloaded, a thunderstorm rolled in and lightning struck the field. Several planes (thankfully, not mine) had to sit on the tarmac, their cargo holds full, until the storm subsided. It was after six when I finally got to a taxi, and I asked the driver how long it would take to get to the hotel. (Registration for the convention closed that day at seven, and I was concerned about checking in at the hotel and getting registered.) By the time we reached downtown Denver, the timing was tight enough that I just had him drop me at the convention center. Fortunately, the P-Z line at registration was empty, so I could just walk up and get my packet. I asked how to get to my hotel, and was told to go two blocks north, then catch the westbound MallTram and get off at Arapahoe. (She was insistent that I take the tram; it was too far to walk. In fact this was not true; it was a total of five or six short blocks, a pleasant walk on a cool morning or a clear evening. However, given that it was raining and I was hauling my luggage, I have to say that her advice was sound.)

After checking in at the hotel, I hurried back to the convention center, in hopes that the Summerfaire event would still be in progress - there, if anywhere, was a chance to catch some other Bujold listies. There weren't many people there when I arrived, but I finally spotted someone in a Barrayaran uniform, who turned out to be Steve Salaba. I'm not sure he remembered me - another not-since-Komarr - but he pointed me at [ profile] mbernardi, who did, and in turn pointed out [ profile] filkferengi amid a cluster of listies. (In addition to [ profile] filkferengi, the crowd included [ profile] dan_ad_nauseam, [ profile] mmegaera, and Sasha, whom I'd met before, but also [ profile] nlbarber, Mary, Franz, Little Egret, the Bartons, Stellan, and Frank Kempe, whom I hadn't. There was some discussion of the disparity between mental images and reality; for instance, I had been sure [ profile] nlbarber was taller and dark-haired. For some reason, people's mental images of me were pretty close to the reality....)

Not much else happened that day; [ profile] filkferengi, Stellan, and I wandered over to the con suite in search of food, and after a while I excused myself and headed for bed.


Aug. 13th, 2008 05:22 pm
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
I considered titling this something like "What I Did on My Summer Vacation", but that would grow tiresome after only a few iterations, so....

I arrived in Madison for MathFest 2008 on the 30th. There was nothing on the schedule that looked all that interesting - opening ceremonies and suchlike - so I gave [ profile] gryphons_lair a call and we agreed to meet for dinner at 5:00. She had previously given me a list of sights to see, so, with several hours to kill, I wandered out.

Naturally, they hadn't fed us on the flight out, so my first stop was a Mexican kiosk, Burrito Loco. The burrito I bought was unexpectedly large ("Ma'am, that's not a burrito; that's a burro!"), and took me a longish time to finish. ([ profile] gryphons_lair later pointed out that kiosks like that cater to the college crowd and their outsize appetites.) Looking at the list of sights, I went on to the History Museum. (My first stop, once inside, was the restroom, to wash my hands. Big, juicy burrito....) I'm afraid I slightly embarrassed myself by not recognizing the local celebrity whose life was celebrated on the first floor. (I eventually managed to remember the name, associating it with "Saturday Night Live", but it's escaped me again.) The second floor was devoted to the history of Wisconsin Indians; since I was, at the time, in the middle of reading 1491, it seemed a bit dated to me, but it was interesting enough. The third floor covered the later history of Wisconsin, where, again, I encountered acquaintances from recent reading - this time, Seymour Lipset's It Didn't Happen Here, which devotes considerable space to the relative success of socialism in Milwaukee and to Victor Berger in particular.

After the museum, I took a stroll down State Street, still hoping to walk off the burrito. The ambience took me back to Isla Vista and my UCSB days: unconventionally dressed people, buskers, earnest young People With Causes... Edwardsville, though as much a college town as Madison, isn't like that. At All.

[ profile] gryphons_lair came by my hotel at about 5:00, and we headed off for dinner at the local Afghani restaurant, Kabul. En route, she led me to "her favorite used bookstore", Avol's, and we spent some time there. I picked up Chinua Achebe's novel Arrow of God, a translation of Francis Bacon's New Organon1, and Thomas Burns' A History of the Ostrogoths2. (Book count for trip: 3.)

Dinner at the Kabul Restaurant was quite good. At [ profile] gryphons_lair's suggestion, I ordered the lentil soup, which was delicious, and a lamb curry, likewise. We chatted about this and that - sadly, I've forgotten most of the topics, though I seem to recall that Smart People Doing Stupid Things occupied a fair bit of time - and finished with Turkish coffee, which I'd never had. I will make disparaging comments about hotel and restaurant coffee later on; they do not apply here, as Turkish coffee is not to be judged on the same criteria as the varieties more standard in this country.

([ profile] gryphons_lair and I weren't able to meet again during my stay, but still, it was good to visit with her for the first time since - was it the signing party for Komarr?)

And that was the first day of My Summer Vacation.

[1] I sometimes refer to the book in my History of Math class, but I've never actually read it, so....

[2] Why? Because I didn't have any books on the Ostrogoths, of course. More seriously, most of what I knew about the Goths came from de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall, Poul Anderson's "The Sorrow of Odin the Goth", and R. A. Lafferty's The Fall of Rome, none of which is all that reliable a source (being, after all, fiction). I managed to find time to read the book before my return home, and I will make a brief post on that topic later.

Still Alive

Aug. 4th, 2008 07:09 am
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
Just a quick note to say that I'm in San Diego on the second leg of my vacation. The conference was very interesting, and I even got a little egoboo; I'll make a fuller report after I return home.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
Let's see, is everything taken care of? I gave my readings student his final yesterday, took care of some paperwork, and put together the materials for my talk on Thursday. I've bought a new pocket watch and a 2GB memory card for my camera. I've stopped the mail (got to remember to call the newspaper), made arrangements for Ben, and used up the high-perishability food; one small load of laundry is drying, and I've done all my packing except for clothes. (I'm taking my biggest suitcase, and it will only be half-full on the way out. On the way back, it won't be half-full.)

This may be my last post for a while. I'm not leaving for Madison until tomorrow, but my flight is early enough that I'm going to spend tonight in a hotel near the airport. I'll be in Madison until Sunday; then I'll fly to San Diego for a few days with my family, and on Wednesday it's on to Denvention! I will have 'Net access in SD and probably in Denver, so I may do a little posting, but I may not; in that case, I'll be back on the 13th.

See ya!


stoutfellow: Joker (Default)

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