journal for 2003-07-06


At some point in the past, I became convinced that my flight left EWR at 1200 noon today. In fact, my flight arrives in Phoenix at 1200 noon, Phoenix time. It leaves EWR at around ten. I discovered this fact at 0600 while double-checking to make sure that it wasn’t going to be delayed or anything.


Well, it’s fortunate that I did so, anyway. Gloria and I still managed to get showered and fed, and we got here the suggested two hours before my departure. What a crock. I’ve flown a bunch of times since 9-11, and while the heightened security is a pain, it hasn’t caused anything like a one or two hour delay. I took my time walking around and looking for something worth reading in the airport Borders, but it’s still only 0844 as I write this. It’ll probably be at least another hour before I’m onboard. At least I can take this opportunity to charge my batteries.

I was really hoping to find a copy of Moby Dick here. Star Trek 8 was on TV last night, and we watched a bit of it, including the part where someone says that the Borg is Picard’s white whale. Well, of course, they didn’t have it. I would’ve been less annoyed if they didn’t have other classics, mostly of the AUGH MY EYES sort, like nearly a shelf full of Jack London. Then there was a section of just erotica. Jeez. I almost picked up a copy of Fast Food Nation, but, well, I didn’t want to.

Security was goofy, as usual. We were advised to take off our shoes and all that crap. I almost never get the feeling that the security people are very, well, competent. The only time I saw something even slightly security-like was in December of 2001, when there were soldiers with M16’s walking around the terminal. That made me feel a little too secure!

the weekend

Friday was July 4th, so I had the day off. I spent most of the day sort of just chilling out. We did the laundry and then went out to see Terminator 3. It wasn’t terrible, but it really wasn’t as interesting as the first two movies. It was fun watching things blow up and watching robots fight and stuff, but at no point did I really go “Ohhhh! Now I get it!” There wasn’t much to get. Still, you know, stuff exploded, so…

On Friday evening, Katie and Jerome came by and we walked over to IQE and watched the fireworks from the south bank of the Lehigh. It was pretty fun, and I got a pile of pictures, some of which weren’t terrible. Taking photos of fireworks is hard, especially with a digital camera. My camera had a bit of a delay, so that I’d need to press the button about a second or a half second before the firework went off. It was odd.

I took some crappy movies, too, which was fun. I need to sort out the crap from the OK stuff before I publish them.

Yesterday we got some tasty breakfast at Hack’s, some tasty ice cream from the Hedgehog, and then later some tasty dinner and dessert from Cracker Barrel. It was a tasty day. I tried the Cracker Barrel’s chicken pot pie, and while it was tasty, I didn’t really like it. It was pretty soupy, and they use one of those commie recipies that doesn’t call for crust on the bottom. I ask you, if you ordered pie and it came without crust on the bottom, would it really be pie? No!

The service was wicked fast, though. We had our food within ten minutes of ordering. It was a little scary.

On Thursday I had received some (very) early birthday presents from Gloria’s parents. (I need to remember to send them a thank-you email. Maybe I’ll compose it now and send it when I have an uplink.) Among those books was Battle Royale, of which I’d never heard. It’s plot is pretty simple: a bunch of 9th grade Japanese kids get put on an island and ordered to fight to the death. It’s about as good as that premise suggests it could be: it’s fun, and I did enjoy it, but it didn’t change the way I look at much of anything. I meant to just get interested in it so I could read it while travelling. Instead, I finished it, and now I can’t even find a copy of Moby Dick. Arrgh. I wonder if the newsstand here in the terminal takes plastic. I don’t want to go out of and back through security!

There is one other good thing, though: they said my gym bag was OK to carry on, so I have no luggage to wait for when I get to Portland! I had wanted to bring my copy of Camel, but it wouldn’t have fit. I’m told that I can just get a signed bookplate, though, for later application to the book. Cool.

laid over

I’m enjoying my seventy-five minute layover in Phoenix, now. The flight here was pretty bland. I sat next to two guys, apparently from Jersey, apparently on their way to go do a lot of gambling. They were talking about betting techniques and playing stud, and one of them was reading Modern Gambler or something like that. They played several games of poker using the mini-pretzels as chips. They were very jovial, and for no good reason irritated me.

I tried to keep busy, but failed pretty abominably. I couldn’t even think of much work to do, although I did do a bit of commenting in the reporting code for MASH. Overhauling that is going to be a real pain. The provided magazines were pretty content-free. I slept as much as I could, which wasn’t much, and then watched the second half of Bringing Down the House. Queen Latifah, Steve Martin, and Eugene Levy were funny, but the movie itself was not, in general, good. Still, there was enough humor that I wasn’t in pain.

The flight was about an hour longer than I expected. Arrival was scheduled for around noon local time, and we actually arrived around 1155. The problem was that I had assumed that Phoenix was in Mountain Time. It is, but Arizona doesn’t do Daylight Saving. I knew that, but I’d forgotten! Effectively, the city is in Pacific Time right now. This was bad for the length of my flight to Phoenix, but good for the length of my flight to Portland. We’re slated to take off at about 1315, which is in roughly thirty minutes; we should arrive around 1600, so that’s less than three hours in the air. I’m plugged in, but knave seems to charge very slowly when running. Still, I might be nearly fully charged before I board; at the least, I should be close.

Airports don’t seem to have enough plugs, to me—especially well-located plugs. Also, there’s no 802.11b here. Trevor talks about airports getting wireless networking for waiting travellers, but I haven’t seen it working yet. The hotel says we have “internet access” in our rooms, but if it’s anything like they had in London, it will be really crappy web browsing (a la WebTV) and that’s it. I almost wish someone would regulate what can be advertised as “internet access.” Once I get to the Marriott, I’ll find out, anyway, and I’ll call up Trevor or Mike and ask nicely for a dial-up account, if needed.

I couldn’t find an ATM anywhere in the terminal, which was pretty annoying. I wanted to get some lunch/dinner, as all I’ve had since around 0700 was a handful of tiny pretzel sticks and an apple. (It was a good apple, though.) Maybe I should’ve tried to get in on those pretzel poker games.

I ended up going to BK, where I ate too much. This was actually partly intentional, as I wanted to make sure I could be done eating for the rest of the day, except maybe for some very small snack around my west coast dinner time. I had fries, a burger, a chicken sandwich, and a diet coke. I didn’t finish any of it, but 75% of all that is still more than 100% of what I’d usually eat for lunch. I looked at the little newsstand here for books, but they didn’t have anything worth mentioning. They had three sections, I think: Famous Authors, Best Sellers, and Popular Favorites. Obviously, Melville isn’t among those.

Maybe if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll head out to Powell’s as soon as I check in!

I should also really find out if I need to do anything much to check into the convention.

It’s around 1600, and they’re doing some initial boarding of my flight. I’m going to unplug, shut down, and get ready.


I know there was some thing I was going to do on the plane to keep busy, but I’ve forgotten what it was. I’m bored. We should arrive in about ninety minutes, though. I took some time to move all my iCal items for OSCON events three hours ahead, so I could change knave’s timezone without screwing up their apparent times. I wish it was a bit easier. iCal needs some polish.

I played with “Personal Web Sharing,” which is basically just Apache. I’m surprised that there’s no custom Apple page in DocumentRoot. Instead, there’s the typical Apache one. The large amount of freenix stuff that is just laying around in an OS X install is… I don’t know, charming.

At the airport in Phoenix, there were two geeky looking dudes with tibooks. They were sitting around puttering on their laptops and charging, as was I. One had on a Perl Monger shirt. I almost greeted them, but decided not to. At least one of them (almost ceratinly both, I’d think) got onto my plane, though, and we looked at each other as he passed. I have no idea why I didn’t say hello. It seems quite likely that he’s going to OSCON, too.

Man, I am bored.


I’m here!

The plane touched down a little after four. Because I had no baggage, I wandered straight toward the red line, found an ATM, bought a ticket, got eighteen dollar coins in change, rode the really slow rail downtown, got briefly lost, called Gloria, and was directed to my hotel.

I checked in and almost accepted the offer of network in my room for $10 per day. I’m glad I didn’t, because I’d forgotten that there’s a “lounge” in the basement, here, with piles of computers and, more importantly, Airports. I’m sitting there now, on the net, writing this. Oh yeah!

The guy across from me has a 17” PB. I decided against making some kind of Mini-Me / Yao joke. I’m not feeling super-communicative today.

My room isn’t bad. It’s pretty spacious, for a one-room thing. I need to remember to request a shaving kit.

I got my course materials (mostly). There’s a good bit of stuff, especially for the mod_perl course. It’s like a whole book! That may, of course, be because it’s in 24 point font and looks like a whole mess of PowerPoint slides.

It’s only 1745, so I might put knave up in my room to charge and go for a walk and maybe pick up Moby Dick. Actually, I should check out my CVS projects, first. I can’t believe I forgot to do that before spending a whole day on planes. Arrgh!

Anyway, I think I’ve said quite enough for today. Anything else can be said tomorrow.

Written on July 6, 2003