Doesn’t Bode Well

I hate it when days don’t start well: You wake up at 3:30 am with a bit of a headache, and your alarm normally goes off at 4:45 am (meaning you won’t get back to sleep)… and the drivers are such on the van that you have to drive longer in the morning (only other driver gets on at the 2nd vs. 1st stop) and don’t have a backup in the afternoon (meaning if that headache blossoms, you’re stuck)… plus it looks like the first telecon of the morning may be a bit contentious… plus it looks like there is loads to do today and not enough time…

About the only good thing is that it is my daughter’s 16th birthday (I did the song on FB this year, for that’s where she’s hangin’). We’ll do her birthday dinner tomorrow night, and her party after finals in December, and go shopping for her present (laptop computer) when she has the time.


Three of Two

Some selected news chum linkage, organized in three groups of two links each, covering animal science, pet peeves, and “are they still needed?”:

  • Animal Science. Under this heading, we have two stories, both concerning household pets and water. The first asked the question: How does a cat drink water? The question isn’t as easy as you think, because cats and dogs can’t create suction with their mouths, and can’t pour water in. It turns out that whereas dogs are crude, cats are clever. The second link asked the question: How do dogs spin dry? The answer is: very fast and very efficient. In fact, they are so efficient that the approach may show up in your washing machines.
  • Pet Peeves. Two stories related to pet peeves. The first is one that always seems to rile people: grammatical pet peeves. The second I found more interesting: The Pet Peeves of Waitrets. This had some things I didn’t know, such as: “When your server has brought the check to the table and the guests decide to split the tab there is always one or two people who insist on paying cash and the rest will use their cards. This is not a problem by any means. What IS a problem is that guests don’t seem to understand one major, basic thing. The cash that is presented to the server is applied TOWARDS THE BILL. Then the cards split the remainder. At this point, those who have paid with cards will only tip on what they have had charged to their cards. This results in the server receiving a 10% or less tip which actually winds up costing the server money.”
  • Are They Still Needed? Two stories in this category. First, according to Catholic Bishops, more exorcists are needed. Who woulda thunk that demonic possession was on the increase, except perhaps in the newly elected Congress? What may not be needed are the printed White Pages—Verizon is filing a request to drop them. My favorite quote in the article: “Anybody who doesn’t have access to some kind of online way to look things up now is probably too old to be able to read the print in the white pages anyway”

For Those That Follow

Note: (and, for the present time, mail to is down because some idiots with a backhoe (you guessed it) cut the main XO datacable to the Westhost data center, and they haven’t failed over to their alternate provider yet. If you want to follow the Twitter conversation with the irate customers, look here.

ETA: They seem to have completed the rerouting. ~2.5hr outage.


I Hate To Travel

Today’s been a *fun* day:

  • Security at LAX was its usual inconsistent self. Today, they ordered me to remove my suspenders that hadn’t caused problems in the past, complained my bag might be too big (when it wasn’t, after I took out my back belt I planned to put on after security), and yelled at me for using 3 trays instead of 2.
  • The flight to Boston had a load of PRC students on it who didn’t seem to understand the flight crew when they gave directions, such as turning off electronics. (This is a pet peeve of mine: If I have to do it, then everyone should be doing it).
  • The bus driver for the Silver Line bus in Boston just decided he wasn’t going to stop at any of the stops between the Silver Line station and South Station. I needed to get off at World Trade Center.
  • The hotel (Westin Waterfront), which is in the Waterfront area, actually has no reasonably priced restaurants near it. I ended up at the Legal Test Kitchen with a $20 piece of salmon.

Hopefully, the conference days will be better.


Boo for USPS – Yea! for Amazon

I just received email that the bulk of a recent Amazon order (2 books and 9 CDs) was returned to them as undeliverable by the USPS. Note that this is the same USPS that successfully delivered all the other 10 parts of the order… to the same address. As this order was partially on gift certificate, and there was no indication of that information in the email, I was understandably in a bad mood (on top of just having a headachy no-energy day). There were a number of items I truly wanted in that order.

Yea! for the Amazon Customer Service supervisor, who figured out how to reenter the order without the hassle of me having to do it and wait for the refund to show up in their system. It should ship again on Monday. In the meantime, I think we’re going to take that “undeliverable” notice and have a little talk with the Postmaster, for we’ve had indications that other mail is not being delivered (i.e., mail from the Pasadena Playhouse and Cabrillo Music Theatre).


Travel Update

An update on this wonderful trip. Right now I’m in Gathersburg MD, with meetings nearby tomorrow morning. As for yesterday and today…

The flights from CID to EWR were on time, but on small regional jets where I had to cabin check a bag. I’m not that crazy about the Embraier 145. I had that from CID to ORD, and again today from EWR to IAD, and it is just too tiny! The flight from ORD to EWR was on an Canadair Regional, which was better, but not by much. I remember the days when these were all 737s. I’m not sure aviation is moving forward.

In any case, after the cattle car flights (the terminal at ORD is just like a bus terminal), I got into EWR about 12:15am this morning. Went to Avis. I reserved Intermediate, and when I got to the car found a minivan. I walked aback to the counter and said, “try again.. I want small car, covered trunk”. So they offered me a Towncar… they only car they supposedly had. Truged upstairs to find it had a broken glove box. Trudged back to the counter and said “try again.” This time, the nice attendant found my a Hundai Sonata. That worked, and I got out of EWR around 1:15am. The person giving directions at the Avis gate told me to get on US 1-9 N for my hotel (the Hilton). Turned out this was wrong, and I ended up wandering Port Newark. Called the hotel and finally got back there. Got to bed around 2am, and got up at 6am. Yes, I did drowse out during the meeting (as did others on the team), even though I tried not to. I’m still pissed at myself for doing that.

Going to the meeting, about half-way there, I suddenly realized I couldn’t find my DL or credit card. Thinking I left them at the hotel, I got off I-80 in Hackensack. Luckily, I found them in my luggage, but then I had to deal with finding my way *back* to I-80 W. This isn’t that easy in New Jersey.

Returning the car, I thought I would be good and fill the tank. However, the only gas station approaching EWR is before the bridge, and Avis considers that too far to consider the tank full. So they charged me for gas anyway. I’m not sure if I can retroactively fight the charge.

Flying from EWR to IAD was on another puddle jumper. They were doing a shift change or something at EWR, so we sat on the ground an extra 30 minutes on a plane that had no AC before taking off. We did arrive in IAD a little early, but at the far end of the A concourse. It’s quite a walk from there to ground transportation. Of course, when I got to my Avis Preferred car, what do I find? An SUV! Needless to say, I got the car changed — I now have a Chevy Malibu.

As you can guess, I’m looking forward to flying back to LAX tomorrow, and replacing my car keys on Friday. Of course, I’m not on a non-stop going back, so with the way this week has been going, I’ll get into DEN and find out that all flights into LAX are cancelled!