another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Delays, Delays ....

It took a bit longer getting back from Ottawa than planned...

I was booked on a 7:35 United flight to Chicago on Friday night. That got canceled due to weather in Chicago (it was beautiful all week in Ottawa).

When I confirmed that the flight was canceled, I called my travel agency, and they got United to shift me to a connecting flight that went through Washington, DC, first on an Air Canada flight and then on United.

When I went to check in Air Canada had my name for the flight be didn't have ticket information so that they couldn't check me in until they knew they'd be able to get their money from United for that flight leg. It took about 45 minutes for the Air Canada check-in agent to get the right information from United. It was clear that she knew what she was doing, the United agent didn't seem to understand what the Air Canada agent was telling him. Meanwhile I got to see her deal with a few more minor crises -- the Chinese couple who were en route from Saskatoon to Boston and were not yet reunited with some of their bags, people to took off in entirely the wrong direction after she pointed them where they were to go, etc).

Finally, the ticket situation was cleared up and I got through check-in in time to get some souvenirs for the family at the airport shop and get to my gate a bit early.

Flight to Washington/Dulles went smoothly. It got off essentially on time, and landed maybe a few minutes early.

The flight to Chicago boarded about 20 minutes late, but then after we boarded we sat on the tarmac for about 2.5 hours due to a ground-stop in Chicago. Big storm front that was still moving through Chicago.

Landed in Chicago about 1:45am on Saturday morning.

They didn't tell us which area (conveyor #) the baggage pick-up was, and when we got to baggage claim they had our flight number listed in one area, but the bags actually came off in a different area. That delayed things about a half-hour while I figured out where my suitcase was. At least it arrived - I wasn't confident given the reshuffling of the flights.

Then, when I went to the transit train station to get to the remote parking lot, the trains were all "delayed". It should have taken me 15 minutes to get to my car, but it took more than 45. Got to my car about 3:15. I got home at just before 4am. But, I did get home that night.

And, the trip to Ottawa was very nice and productive. More on that in the next post.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

World(-ish) Traveller

On the road again.

Right now I'm writing from Beth (Ellen's sister) and Don's house in Iowa. I spent the day dealing with some minor repairs to mom's house that were demanded by the FHA inspector.
  • Add a tube to 6" from the floor to the relief value of the hot water heater -- got the tube made for that purpose from Lowe's, and then I just needed to borrow a hacksaw from Don to cut it to length

  • Loose wire ends in basement need to be terminated and put into a wiring box -- well, I could tell right away that the reason these wires were loose is that they were disconnected FROM the main panel, so they certainly didn't have live AC to them. But, to be fully compliant, I added wirenuts and a box to contain them.

  • Garage door doesn't reverse when met with resistance when going down -- This is sort of the trickiest one. If I lower the down pressure too much, the door doesn't go down at all. Increase it to get the door to go down and resistance doesn't reverse the door. I think I have it adjusted now where it needs to be. We'll see if it passes the next inspection. If it doesn't the opener may need to be replaced, and I really don't want to have to pay for that. The opener is probably 25 years old, and it's 1/3 horsepower when it may really have needed a 1/2 hp opener. This is the item I'm not going to be 100% certain is finished by the time I leave.

  • Flaking paint on garage door and back stairs needs to be scraped and re-painted -- done and done-ish. Scraping was pretty easy, and I still had the shop vac at the house so I could clean up the chips. A coat of white paint is on. I'm conflicted about putting on another coat. If it was going to be my house I probably would, but as it won't be my house by the end of the week I'd rather be lazy. I'll see what it looks like tomorrow after the paint has dried (and I can see it again in daylight). If it looks bad I'll go ahead and give it another coat

And, while I'm here I got the sale papers signed and ready to take to Bob to sign. The house closing is now tentatively set for Friday.

Tonight, Beth, Don and I went to Famous Dave's for dinner and relaxed for a while.

Tomorrow, I need to finish loading stuff for the last stuff to take back home, and I'll sweep the garage real quick. Maybe paint. The rest of the house is ready. Then, drive back home.

Monday morning I fly to Ottawa for a week, which I guess I'll talk about later. Tomorrow??

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CODCon Report

Yay! Seven slots of gaming in a six slot convention! (now edited to fix the errors/omissions caused by finishing the post at 2am while working -- not guaranteeing I got ALL the errors)

I'll have another blog post tomorrow, probably, but this one is the CODCon report -- while it's moderately fresh in my mind.


Slot 0! Really, really slot 0, as it occurred immediately before slot 1 rather than days or weeks before the con. Matt, Ryan and I played VER 8-03 "Darkness is Unbound". This was done so that all four of us would be free to judge in slot 4, when we'd planned to play this. Also took the four of us out of the player pool that slot -- so the slot could require fewer judges. It was kind of an odd mod, but pretty interesting throughout. The end had a twist I was definitely not expecting. Who knew that .... well, that would be telling.

Slot 1! I judged VER 7-09 "Jinxed". A very fun mod, by one of the more fun authors. The players were all good, and I managed to kill the character of a player I really like. He took it fine. I'd tell you how I killed him (well, the mod killed him, I just rolled high), but again ... that would be telling. What I can say is that everyone thought it was hilarious.

Then I came home and hit a few hours of work (!!!!), since I got called just before slot 1. I got to bed at 3:30am.


Slot 2! I judged VER 7-08 "Race the Spirit's Lightning". Another fun mod co-written by the author of "Jinxed" mentioned above. The table included Kalen, Suzanne (another player I enjoy playing with), her daughter, and two players that I had in slot 1. As a spectator noted it was something that is rare to see - a table of 5 female players with 1 male. The mod tends to run long, and it did this time as well, but this is the third time I've run it so I'm getting better at pacing it. The climax wasn't quite as exciting as some of the times I've run this because one of the players here (Aisling - Suzanne's 9-year-old daughter) could outdo one of the bad guy's main tricks.

Slot 3! I PLAYED! Played VER 8-02 "Crypt Things". Played with Ryan and Matt again, Ryan and I with our Cuthbertines. I can't remember much about what we faced here other than the climax, which was major and has a lot of repercussions for my character (if only the end of the campaign wasn't approaching so rapidly). Ryan and I got to play off part of the Oath we'd previously taken -- we'll see if that comes up again or whether this was it. I'm guessing "again, but in a lesser way".

Slot 4! I judged VERS 7-03 "From Hextor With Love". It's much more of a freeform mod, better suited for home play (which it will never see, since it's a special). The problem here was with the players. Well, not so much with the individual players (or sets of players), but with the mix. Three of the players were tween boys, who just had way too much energy bouncing off each other. Two more players were a couple who I've judged before who are prone to anxiety attacks. And, of course, the boys just wound up triggering those attacks, and they had no idea they were doing it (or probably that anything was going on). I managed to get them through the module with some beating of the clue sticks near the end to help them get through successfully rather than having time called on them.

Went home. Had some follow-up to do from the previous night's work. About an hour's worth of work. Got to bed about 12:30.


Slot 5! I judged VER 7-05 "The Lion and the Dragon". Fun table. Challenging mod, but they were a bit overpowering APL 8 table (and the mod only goes to APL 8), so they managed to win outright. Hey, why is the XXXXXX cooler (and more deadly) at APL 6 (where I played) than at APL 8 (for these guys)?

Slot 6! I judged VER 7-06 "The Swan and the Crow". Direct sequel to the previous slot, and almost the same table - only one player changed. This time they played at APL 10, and at points they may have wished they could have stayed at APL 8! But, they were challenged and succeeded, which always makes for the best games.

Post Con: The family went out to California Pizza Kitchen. Then I crashed hard for about 9 hours.

And that was the weekend. Next post - what's been going on in Iowa, why I'm going back this weekend, and why I'm then going to Ottawa on Monday (not the one in Illinois, the one in Ontario).

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"That certainly is Eric Gagne!"

... that's what I said yesterday in the bottom of the ninth, after Gagne walked Aramis Ramirez. That was before Kosuke Fukodome hit the three run home run to tie it, though I pretty much called the home run as well.

So, it may not have been a Cubs win, but it was a good game to watch. I'd pretty much written off the game after Kerry Wood gave up three runs in the top of the ninth, figuring that the Cubs wouldn't make up that deficit. But, I hadn't realized that the Brewers closer was now Gagne. When he was announced, suddenly I had hope.

A very good game of Fukodome, but he was almost the entire extent of the Cubs offense. A well pitched game by Zambrano and Marmol (and Ben Sheets for the Brewers). The temperature was OK, and we were underneath the stands enough that the rain was never bothersome. We stayed in the club late so that the pre-game rain delay was ignorable - I got to my seat just in time for the first pitch. And the second delay during the game wasn't too long at all.

A bad game for Prince Fielder. He hit one little ground ball that rolled out to second base, and DeRosa was playing so deep that I thought surely Fielder would beat it out. But no. Fat-ass Fielder was barely half-way down the line by the time he was thrown out. The ball could have come to a stop and any one of four Cubs could have strolled over, gotten the ball, and made it to first before Fielder.

Then in the ninth Fielder fields a groundball from Pie maybe 15 feet behind first base. But it takes him time to get to the base and he veers to avoid collision with Pie - in the process missing the base with his foot and failing to get a tag on Pie in time. I don't even know why he particularly tried to avoid the collision - he may easily weigh three times what Pie does. Felix probably would have thought he ran into a brick wall.

For about an hour in the afternoon, we could truthfully use the phrase "The Royals and the Nationals are tied for the best record in baseball", knowing we'd never use that phrase again. Then we added the Rays to that list, then the Diamondbacks (but it got less funny then). Eventually, the Nationals won so they could stand on top with the best record unchallnged. At least until today's games.

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