Countdown Timer

San Diego’s Olympic Bid Website and Con Bid Websites

San Diego has now launched a bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.  (Read that again – Olympics and Paralympics, not Worldcon.  Got that!)

They have their website up at http://www.sd2024ec.org/.

There are a few comments I’ll make about this site at the time of bid announcement.  Many of these are at least partially applicable to Wordcon and Westercon bid sites as well.

1: They have a section for “venues,” but nothing is listed.  Yet elsewhere (in the video) they talk broadly about many of the venues already being built.  Since what venues they were talking about was something I really wanted to know, this was doubly a problem for me.

2: The “About the Committee” link doesn’t lead to a page that lists who the committee is.  It jumps to a general page describing the bid.  As I’m not all that familiar with inside Olympic politics, I don’t know how much the actual people on the bid impacts the bids prospects.  But I suspect that it does help with some people.

3: Having the volunteer form up early is good.

4: Having the request for donation page up before other key details are listed, isn’t so good.

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I can make an educated guess of some of the venues likely to be used, but not all:
- Petco Park (Unless Baseball and Softball are re added, it will be used in a non-standard configuration.  But it has been used for Rugby and Tennis that I know of)
- Qualcomm Stadium or whatever The Chargers manage to get built before then (Athletics/Track and Ceremonies)
- San Diego Bay (Sailing)
- The Olympic Training Center (BMX)
- The San Diego Convention Center – which better be expanded by then (Fencing, Weightlifting, Wrestling, …, possibly broadcast center)
- Valley View Casino Center, f.k.a. The Sports Arena (??)
- Vejas Arena (??)

On the current Worldcon Bids

I just got back from SMOFCon – the annual gathering of SF Convention runners, which has a bit of a Worldcon bias, for better and for worse.

One of the highlight events is the “Fannish Inquisition” (as in “No one expects the Fannish Inquisition” – but more on that later).  This goes through the bids for two traveling conventions: SMOFCon itself, and Worldcon.  At this year’s Inquisition, the following Worldcon bids presented themselves:

  • 2016 Worldcon: KC remains the only bidder
  • 2017: Japan (city TBD) vs. Montreal vs. Helsinki vs. DC
  • 2018: New Orleans vs. San Jose, both still officially exploratory
  • 2019: Dublin; nothing about the rumored Paris bid
  • 2020: New Zealand (city TBD)
  • 2021: Fort Worth
  • 2022: Chicago

First, this doesn’t change what I said before.

Second, here are my thoughts on these, in order of the year announced:

2016: KC.  I became quite well acquainted with two-thirds of the “LOL” chair triumvirate (Jeff Orth and Diane Lacey) working for and with them during the Chicon 7 Hugo Award process.  I think that they have a strong bid, which is pretty good given that at this point they are all but officially unopposed.  Both Tara and I are now (late – we only got around to it at Loscon) pre-supporters, and I think that they will put on a good con.

2017: Japan.  I listened to A³ as he explained that the debt from 2007 has been paid off, and that they have structures and plans to avoid the same kind of issues.  Having Andrew as one of the bid chairs and as a prospective con chair does help.  But I still feel that my trust was sufficiently violated that I’ll be hesitant to support, or vote in a high position, a Japanese bid anytime soon.

2017: Montreal.  We had a pretty good time in Montreal in 2009, and I think I wouldn’t mind going back.  Further, Diane is involved in the bid – but nobody can really work at  a high level (like co-chair) on multiple successive Worldcons or even bids.  so I think that her involvement will be limited.  However, there has been a lot of churn in the rest of the committee, and some key members don’t have a lot of trust in the fannish community.  They are still in the running for my vote – maybe not in the top slot – but I’m not ready to do much more without some sign (either that they are likely to win and supporting them would be a good move financially, or that that the internal and perception issues are resolved).

2017: Helsinki.  When they announced, they immediately jumped into my first slot.  Except, I’m not sure that the budget would stretch into to two European Worldcons in three years (and 3 in 5 years).  However, a number of their more experienced Worldcon people from the 2015 bid are working on DC.  This puts a lot more pressure on the less experienced people on the bid.  Now Eemeli Aro has more than enough energy and enthusiasm to carry a bid, and I’m sure that we’ll see a Finnish Worldcon under Eemeli (unless he burns himself out) sooner rather than later.  (The only other person I’ve seen with this much energy and enthusiasm in this kind of role is Dave McCarty, so I respect it a lot).

2017: DC.  With their announcement, they jumped to first place.  After reading their committee list – which has just about everyone I know in fandom who lives in the Eastern time zone of the United States, and I’m not exaggerating – that placement was solidified.  I pre-supported them ($10.00) and would have forced Tara to pre-support them, but I was running low on US funds, they didn’t want Canadian funds, and I forgot my checkbook which I would have brought for just this kind of thing.

2017 in general: for various reasons, I’ll probably eschew any further involvement in any of the bids.  If nothing else, I think chairing the 2015 Westercon will eat much of my fannish time and energy.

2018: New Orleans is a fully running bid, albeit without finalized facilities (they have time).  However, for some reason the reported charms of New Orleans itself fail to work on me – and in fact does the opposite.  In order for New Orleans to get my top vote, they’ll have to convince me that it will be worth coming to New Orleans for a good con, not that it will be worth coming to Worldcon because it is in New Orleans.  (And having heard plenty of Nolacon II tales since joining fandom, they do have something to overcome).

2018: San José.  Some have expressed concern over the San Jose bid because of issues in 2002.  Now, I’d be hypocritical to say that issues in 2002 don’t matter to me for 2018 just after bringing up an event in 1988 in regards to 2018.  But, I was at 2002, and while it was just my 4th Worldcon, I didn’t see any real issues.  I saw many more issues with Torcon 3 in 2003 than I did in 2002.  On top of that, I know, like and respect way to many of the Bay Area fans (fen) to not have a positive reception to a bid from there.

At least one person expressed disappointment in who presented for the bid (which is still exploratory, but I expect that to change soon).  I have little sympathy for that simply because someone presented instead of someone else who WASN’T IN TORONTO, that it looks bad.  Specifically, the person didn’t like the presenter due to issues with a prior SMOFCon that I was also at, and as near as I could see only had one real – albeit significant – issue, and that was in part due to the way some people reacted to a new idea, coupled with the fact that this new idea didn’t work in this venue.  And the presenter is someone I’d, in general, consider a friend, so their objection rankled me further.

2019: Dublin.  The bid chair for Dublin wasn’t there.  But I know and respect his proxy and am sufficiently acquainted with him to believe that it will be a solid bid and should be a good con.  My only personal concern is going to be financial and logistical: it is likely that we’ll have two oversees Worldcons in a row and I’ll have to make sure that we can get to both.  (I’m tired of missing Worldcon – and I could see being into the situation by 2019 that I cannot afford to miss one).

2020: New Zealand: What can I say: After missing out on Aussicon 4, I really want to go to New Zealand!

2021: DFW: I like the bid chair (Tim Miller), and think that he has more than enough energy and enthusiasm to carry this off.  My only worry is that if they couldn’t find a useful facility in Texas outside of San Antonio (early on the bid was looking at the whole state), are the Dallas and Fort Worth facilities workable?

On the other hand, as Tim pointed out both in his Fort Worth SMOFCon presentation and in his DFW Worldcon presentation: if the con is in Dallas or Fort Worth, you cannot be made to change planes at DFW – and DFW is the right airport for the wrong purpose.  It was clearly designed to be a destination airport, but became a hub airport – a role for which it is wholly unsuited due to its architecture.

2022: Chicago.  I was part of the Chicago in 2008 and Chicago in 2012 bids and this is largely the same team, but a different facility.  I’ll probably be involved (and may be an official member of the bid committee again – even if I’m mostly back in my role of trying to evangelize for Worldcon in San Diego where too many people don’t seem to care).

I’ll admit a bit of a concern about McCormick Place due to its sprawling size (about twice the size of Anaheim), and the tales of Union shenanigans.  But after two Hyatt Worldcons and having to hear the horror stories twice now (and they are horror stories, even if we laugh at them), I’ll be yet another voice in the “Not the Hyatt, oh and did I say ‘Not the Hyatt’” crowd.

(I’m not saying anything about 2023.  I’m not saying anything about 2023.  I’ve never said anything about 2023 outside of my own head.  So stop hearing things that I’m not saying, OK?)

Bad TV Technology: NCIS: LA and Trains

The main action sequence of the episode of NCIS: Los Angles that first aired on November 5, 2013 featured a train – one engine and two cars each containing two tanks of chlorine gas.  As a moderate rail-fan with an incomplete knowledge of rail details, I think I spotted at least three major flaws – two of which might have (ahem.) derailed the plot if I’d let them.

First: The train had been hijacked by a recently fired brakeman, who was otherwise about to be promoted to engineer.  He was taking action because the railroad owners were covering up that they were routing dangerous cargo through residential areas.  His protest was to take the train and drive it to LA Union Station.

But, I’m pretty sure that the central control of the switches has as much, or more, to do with where a train ends up.  So, his plans to get this train to Union Station were pretty much shot from the moment it became known that the train wasn’t properly manned.

Second: It turned out that the hijacker had been duped by a couple of others who instead planned on setting off explosives under the tracks, derailing the train and causing the chlorine gas tanks to break open, injuring and killing a lot of people in or near a major metropolitan area.

When the hijacker learned this, he attempted to stop the train.  However, the brake line between the engine and the first car failed catastrophically, leaving him without breaks.  As I understand it, modern train brakes are still based on the old Westinghouse Brake – namely that they are held disengaged by the air pressure in the system.  A break in the brake line that caused the air to pour out (as shown in the episode) should have caused the brakes on the two cars to engage.  As long as the brakes on all of the trucks engaged at about the same time, or the brakes engaged back to front, the cars would have simply decoupled from the engine and stopped.  If the front car’s brakes engaged first, the rear car could have derailed.

Third: Once the hijacker learned that the brakes weren’t working and that he couldn’t decouple the train while moving, he “reversed the polarity” of the engine to slow the train that way.  Now, as I understand it, the primary  brake on a diesel-electric engine is to drop a big resistor across the wheel motors (and use the fans on the top of the engine to dump the resulting heat).  So this wasn’t that far off what he would have already been doing.

But, this somehow locked the wheels not only on the engine, but also both cars, resulting in them throwing sparks from the friction between the wheels and the rails (done, no doubt, by the visual effects crew).  Now, I think a dead-short on the wheel motors would cause them to lock (or come pretty darn close), which would cause sparks there.  But the wheels on the cars should have been still free (after all, their brakes didn’t work).

Finally, I suspect that locking the wheels on the engine without brakes on the cars would have just about assured that one or both of the rear cars would derail – the exact thing that they didn’t want to happen.

Now, they were right with the amount of distance a train at speed – even a fairly light train like they showed – would take to stop.  But I think this was as much to create tension when one of the main characters was trying to defuse the bomb with seconds before the train tripped it.

Thoughts on Future Conventions in San Diego

As of 2013/2014, San Diego has:

In addition, we have Westercon 68 in 2015, and people planning on bidding for both Costume Con and SMOFCon in 2017.

Needless to say, San Diego has its fannish convention plate fairly full over the next few years.  However, there is at least one person who keeps threatening to shanghai me into running a Worldcon bid (I keep telling him that if he throws money for me anything other than a planned event, he is either buying me dinner or paying Tara’s bail after she murders me).

So, below are some of my thoughts about a potential bid to put San Diego further onto the fannish map – specifically within Worldcon fandom (i.e. the people who go to Worldcon, or at least do when it is close enough to them).

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Vicarious Worldcon Report – So Far

Earlier this summer, Tara and I made plans to not go to LoneStarCon 3 so that we could save our money and my vacation for Loncon 3 next year.  Admittedly over the last month or so, I’ve regretted that decision, even though the financial and vacation issue is still valid.  So, with bouts of boredom, and feeling sorry for myself, I’ve been attending LoneStarCon 3 vicariously through friends and others posting on various social networks (primarily Twitter, Facebook and Live Journal).

Thursday was fairly quiet.  I was moderately busy at work, and there wasn’t that much going on at LoneStarCon yet to be reported on.

Friday, however, was the day I most missed being there.  I followed the Twitter stream (using #WSFS) for the preliminary business meeting.   I was fairly happy with the results.  The item I was most worried about – the amendment to remove all of the “fan” categories from The Hugo Awards, except the new Fancast category, went down quickly to an overwhelming objection to consider.  The most recent proposal for a YA Hugo Award also went down to an objection to consider, but the people originally moving the motion had asked that it be withdrawn earlier, so I cannot wholly complain.  The Best Dramatic Presentation Extra-short (<15 minutes) also went down to an objection to consider.  The other amendments made it to the main business meeting.

Friday was a quiet day at work, but somewhat short since I had to get home to help Tara take The Girls to the vet.  Afterwards, we did some running around to get stuff for The Kid’s birthday on Tuesday – and pay too much to have it shipped up to where he is via FedEx due to the lateness of our shipping.

I did start Saturday morning following the business meeting twitter stream again.  Pretty good results as far as I’m concerned.  The two items that both seemed to be at least partially designed to keep supporting and voting membership prices high (and they are high enough to make a lot of people feel excluded from Worldcon, and excluded in a way that lessens the value of The Hugo Awards) were referred to committee, as was the YA proposal.

The amendment to just strike the requirement that electronic publications be opt-in, without providing anything to ensure that paper publications would be available to those who don’t want electronic publication, was accepted.

The amendment that would have expanded Best Fan Artist to include performing arts was basically gutted before being passed.  If I understand the final text, it basically does nothing at this point.  I’d have supported that one in its original state at least a bit.  I do see a possible problem there that graphic/visual artists could see this as taking their Hugo Award away and giving it to Filkers – not too far of a stretch from the admitted idea of making sure that Filk could be awarded under that category.

Aside, Filk is a bit of a hard fit for The Hugo Awards.  As far as I know, only one musical album has ever made the final ballot for The Hugo Awards, last year’s nomination of Seanan McGuier’s Wicked Girls, which was nominated for Best Related Work.  Many argued that they belong in Dramatic Presentation, but I don’t agree.  I’d like to see something that would allow The Hugo Awards to recognize Filk, and possibly other fannish performances, but I’m not sure how to do it.  And, I’m likely to not be in the position to do anything related to The Hugo Awards for at least the next Worldcon, possibly more.

Saturday was when I noticed not being at LoneStarCon 3 the most – Tara has gotten a bad cold, and there wasn’t much to do at the house.  I only got out long enough to run over to Costco, and in part because of how I was feeling, in part because it was Saturday afternoon at Costco, and in part because Costco’s air conditioners weren’t keeping up with San Diego having a dew point in the high 60′s; I didn’t enjoy that trip as much as I do sometimes.  Finally, by sitting down with Tara and watching more of The Legend of Kora off of DVD, I felt a bit better.

The evening ended for me with the mixed news: unofficially, the 2015 Worldcon was awarded to Spokane – the bid I’d been marginally part of since near the beginning – but the 2014 NASFiC went to Detroit – I’d been part of the competing bid for Phoenix, again marginally, for most of its existence as well.  In at least one way, I’m actually glad Detroit won.  If next year’s NASFiC had been in Phoenix, I probably would have needed to go to promote Westercon 68, and possibly help out.  This way, I can concentrate on going to London without that distraction.

This morning, before church, I got caught up on the official info for the 2014 NASFiC and 2015 Worldcon, and am hoping that the rest of the weekend I’ll be able to keep busy enough to not start feeling bored, depressed and missing being with friends at LoneStarCon.

 

Another trip to Reno

This weekend, Tara and I headed up to visit The Kid, who is still up in Reno – and may be for an indefinite time.  We spent a lot of time on the road for what amounted to a visit of less than an hour – but it was a pretty good visit.

Since we needed to visit during the day on Saturday, our plan was to drive as far as Bishop on Friday night.  Both Tara and I had to work full days, so we couldn’t get off too early.  However, I was able to sneak out of work about 3:00, and even with having to do all of my packing (and Tara doing all of her packing) we left the house about 4:00.  We made two quick stops to top off the gas in my car, and our cash supplies and headed out.

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A Modest Proposal

After tweeting in reference to this idea, I was encouraged to go a bit further.  So, here is a semi-serious piece of business for the WSFS business meeting at LoneStarCon 3.  As I (almost certainly) won’t be able to be there, if anyone wants to run with this, feel free.  You may even include me as one of the makers of the motion:

Short Title: A few quiet meetings

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution for the purpose of placing a moratorium on Hugo Award Changes by striking out and adding words as follows:

1. Amend Section 6.6:

The WSFS Constitution may be amended by a motion passed by a simple majority at any Business Meeting but only to the extent that such motion is ratified by a simple majority at the Business Meeting of the subsequent Worldcon.

6.6.x: Amendments relating to Article 3 – Hugo Awards, may not be approved at any Worldcon where another amendment to that article is up for ratification. Further, no amendment relating to Article 3 may be approved at any Worldcon between 2015 and 2017.

6.6.y: Amendments relating to section 6.6.x (above) may not be approved at any Worldcon prior to 2023.

Proposed by: Ronald Oakes

Maker’s Statement: The Hugo Awards have been subjected to additions and changes at nearly every Wordcon over the last 10 or so years. The rate of change is leading to increasingly heated debate on about the make up of the Hugo Awards. By slowing the process of change to the Hugo Awards, the members of Worldcon will have more time to examine the impacts of prior changes before making further proposals.

 

What is up with me?

Riddle me this Batman: Why am I feeling a strong desire to spend several hundred dollars I don’t have, and a day or two of vacation, to lend my votes (or voice) in favor of continuing the Hugo Awards for Best Fanzine, Best Fan Writer and Best Fan Artist?

As I’ve said before, I don’t expect to ever be nominated for a Hugo Award.  I don’t publish a fanzine, nor have any strong desire in starting to do so.  And, my art when I’m doing it is not Hugo worthy in my opinion, nor do I do much of what would be considered fan writing.

On the other hand, I do have friends, good acquaintances and friends of friends who do Hugo worthy work in those categories.  But, I don’t know if I’d be this passionate  just for friends.

Comic-Con So Far

Here it is Saturday night, and I’ve not posted much about what I’ve been doing at Comic-Con.  I’ve posted a couple of things to Google+, Facebook, Twitter and one to LiveJournal without hitting my WordPress site. {For those reading this on one of those, I usually cross-post things from my blog to all of the above, and often post the same – or very similar – things on Google+ Facebook and Twitter that don’t end up here}

Wednesday, I took the day off to help with setting up the Conjecture + Westercon 68 table.  Since we didn’t need to be anywhere until 11:00am, when we picked my vice-chair and the stand for the banner up in La Mesa, our morning was fairly relaxed.

After picking Kae, my vice-chair, up, we drove to the Convention Center and parked next door at the Marriott.  We had two boxes of stuff, the banner stand and a loose poster tube with the Westercon 68 banner.  It turned out that getting this stuff from the Marriott to the convention center wasn’t trivial.  Tara took the larger and heavier box on her scooter – which wasn’t as easy as she’d originally thought.  I had the other box and the banner stand, and Kate had her own stuff and poster tube (I think I’ve got the distribution right).  With this stuff, we had to work our way from the parking garage, to the sidewalk along Harbor, and then up to the front of the Convention Center.  Once we got in front of the Convention Center, we needed to work our way down to the doorways in front of Ballroom D.  Ballroom A is the closest to the Marriott, and was were Volunteers were being allowed in to get their credentials and assignments.  Ballroom B had the disabled entrance, but it was mostly unused.  The people lining up to be the first to get their badges were outside of Ballroom C, where they would later enter.  So we had some cross-traffic to deal with before we could go in.

It didn’t take too long to get Kate her badge (one of our two exhibitor badges) and Tara and I the stickers that granted us access until the floor officially opened.  Nor did it take long to set up the table once we found our way up to the Mezzanine.  The only thing we were lacking was tape to tape up the banners.  So, Tara and I shortly left – getting the car out just shy of it being parked into a third hour (at $7.00/hour after the initial $8.00 hour).  We then headed to see if we could park at Old Town (no spots) and then on to Qualcomm Stadium – stopping briefly at Lowes for the missing tape.

We boarded the trolley, and headed over to the T&C to get our non-preview night 4-day badges.  The ride and walk from the trolley station to the exhibition hall at the T&T was a bit longer than I’d expected – mostly because I didn’t expect them to be sending us in the furthest door into the furthest end of the T&C’s convention center.  {This is MUCH further than any of the space being used for Westercon 68, except for the hotel front desk, and we’ll make sure people coming from the trolley to check in know that they can call for a golf-cart shuttle from our foyer which is much closer to the trolley station}.

After we got our badges through the regular lines, we were briefly directed over to the disabled services desk there, but some communications mistakes kept us from getting our disabled sticker and attendant’s badge there.  We returned to the trolley, and proceeded down to the Convention Center and back up to the mezzanine, to find the table fully set up and ready to go.  Tara and I waited up there until the exhibition opened, went down and talked with some of our friends (but didn’t buy anything, because we’d already bought them or they weren’t available), and headed out for dinner before heading home.

Thursday, we got a reasonable start and made it to Qualcomm Stadium in time to catch a not-unreasonable trolley.  We arrived, and promptly found the disabled line for Ballroom 20.  We were let in fairly reasonably and Tara got a good spot.  However, due in large part to one person with five or six attendants, I ended up sitting in the middle of the row behind the row for the attendants and non-chair using disabled, where I remained until the third panel – when I finally was able to get the seat behind her.

The first two panels were preview showings of the pilots for Intelligence and Star Crossed – both mid-season launches.  Both Tara and I enjoyed Intelligence, but found Star Crossed to be less interesting.  The former has some similarities to Jake 2.0 and Chuck, except the enhanced agent was an agent before hand, and the show is strictly serious action-drama.

We mostly ignored the panel on Beauty and the Beast, but really liked the panel we’d really waited for: Psych.  Psych was its typical love-fest between the audience, writers and cast – but fun as usual.

After that, we got a late lunch, early dinner (it was about 3:30 or 4) at Burger Lounge, and then spent some time at the part of Petco Park that has been turned into Nerd HQ for Comic-Con.  We then found the parking lot that has been turned into an extension of Comic-Con with some tent and trailer exhibits and the food trucks and tent vendors.  After that, we found our way back to the Convention Center for the facilities (which we couldn’t find in the parking lot) and then – at my suggestion – worked our way back and found the 12th and Imperial trolley station giving us very good seats and easy loading for our trip back to Qualcomm Stadium.

Late in the day, and even when we got home, I was noticing some burning pain in my right heel and some aching under the balls of both feet – but mostly the right foot.

Friday (yesterday as I write this) we got a similar early start, and got in line for Ballroom 20 again.  They moved the overflow disabled line to a more sensible location, but did cause some concern since we could observe that they let three groups into the room before they let anyone out of the overflow disabled line – but it turns out they were doing a good job of enforcing the reserved seating so we got pretty good seats (same rows, but further from the center).

The first two panels were great – one with the writers from The Big Bang Theory, and one on The Legend of Korra.  The latter included a full run of the first episode of the second season.  We then partially tuned out for the panel on Bones.

The best, and most anticipated, panel of the day was the panel on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  After receiving a partially standing ovation, Joss Whedon answered a question (possibly by a plant) about showing some clips with a statement to the effect of “We had a bit of trouble with the lawyers getting permission to show any clips, so we’ll just show the whole pilot instead.”  Of the three pilots seen, this was by far the best – a good follow-on to The Avengers, with elements expected both from Marvel and from Whedon.

After this, Tara and I got lunch from one of the tent vendors, spent a bit of time in the exhibit hall and returning a phone call (from Thursday) before splitting for two evening panels.  I went to one featuring Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, moderated by Wil Wheaton, which was a lot of fun.

Over the course of the day, my heel continued to hurt off and on, but more on than off.  So, I decided that I should bring my cane with me today.

This morning (Saturday) we got another good start and got to the convention center at about the same time.  Once we got into Ballroom 20 for two pairs of back-to-back related panels, I took an extended bathroom break and tried to pick up some stuffed animals for Tara from the Nick store (Pabu and Naga).  But, I was too late.  (We have a different plan for tomorrow that should work better – hopefully without costing us seeing the Doctor Who panel).

In the first pair of panels, we saw an 18-minute preview of the new series: Once Upon a Time: Wonderland, and then saw a good panel on the parent show Once Upon a Time.  Afterwards we got a panel with the full voice cast of Futurama and a panel with mostly writers for The Simpsons.  The panel on The Simpsons also featured two performances by The Spring in Springfield – a quartet that performs many of the songs from The Simpsons, albeit mostly from earlier seasons.

Today we had a not-quite-so-late lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory, checked on the staffing at the fan table, and headed over to see the final Warehouse 13 panel (boo, hiss. SyFy).  This was also quite a good panel, although several of the cast were a bit broken up and knowing that in just about six-weeks their run on this show is over.

After that, we grabbed some yogurt at the other branch of our local (4S Ranch) frozen yogurt place – Sweet Things – in the Hilton.  They’ve cut their hours back for Comic-Con; that is their closed hours, so they are open from 5:30am until 2:30am.  And they were hopping in there.

We made a quick run back over to the exhibit hall so I could take a look at the $50.00 Game of Thrones pop-up map book (which looks good, but I’m not going to get it this weekend), before heading home.

Tonight’s trolley ride was less pleasant than some.  First, we had to get a couple to vacate one of the priority seats so that we could fold up the bench for Tara to park her cart.  Then, having had one confrontation already, I chose not to try to kick anyone out of the other seat.  So, Tara had to listen to one of the people we evicted complain about her until they got off, and I ended up standing for the entire run.

While the cane did help my feet, they are still sore.  And, I managed to leave my wrist-brace in the bathroom the first time I went, so my right hand is griping a bit as well.  I’ll use the cane again tomorrow (and I think I know where another brace is, so I may be able to help there as well) but if it is still bothering me on Monday, I’ll probably go to urgent care and get it overanalyzed only to be told to rest it up and take anti-inflamatories.

 

Too Much Time on the Road

I’m tired. Yesterday, I drove up to Reno and drove back today (538 miles each way – 8:48 travel time according to Google Maps).

Yesterday, I didn’t get on the road until after 11:00 due to delays at this end, and had The Kid with me (I was taking up to a treatment facility in Reno that, hopefully, will be able to deal with his issues). As a result, we had lunch at the Lake Elsinore McDonald’s I use as a way-point I used to make sure that my car’s GPS didn’t argue with me about taking I-15 through the Inland Empire rather than the slight shorter, but actually slower, I-215 route.

However, my car’s GPS apparently thinks that freeways are much faster than non-freeway highways, so it tried to run me through Sacramento. Having driven both of the Sacramento routes within the last week and the US-395 route two years ago, I still argued with it until it gave up and quit trying to send me to I-5, somewhere around CA-60.

Because I had The Kid with me, I couldn’t keep listening to A Storm of Swords, so had planned on listening to music; but could not get my iPod to play properly through the car stereo until I got a 3.5mm audio cable in Bishop (I couldn’t find one at the Arco in RB, nor at one of my other pit-stops, nor could I find the one that should be in my office), so I ended up listening to KNX for several hours.

We stopped for dinner in Bridgeport (it was too early when we hit Bishop, and I could tell it would be way late by the time we reach Nevada), at a burger walk-up that wasn’t too bad.

We arrived late – after 9:00 – and it was after 10:30 when I got settled into my hotel.

Said hotel, a Baymont Inn, was not that nice. The room was fairly clean, but the bathtub was stained and they forgot to give me soap (which I could have gotten from the front desk, but it wasn’t worth it for the short night).

I stopped back by where The Kid was about 9:00, only to find that all of the paperwork had been sent here by FedEx, so I could have left earlier. My early trip wasn’t quite as quick as I’d have liked. I ended up stopping in Carson City at a Lowe’s to make use of their facilities (and briefly look at blinds to appese some of my guilt), then at a McDonald’s Minden for a supplement to my breakfast, and finally at the Wal-Mart in Minden to track down something to keep the tea stain on my shirt from becoming permanent.

As lunch time was nearing, I took a detour (not really worth it) onto Mammoth Scenic Loop, and grabbed lunch at the Pita Pit in Mammoth Springs. This added a bit of a delay – and probably more than just doubling into Mammoth Springs would have – but was at least a recognizable option rather than the sometimes gamble of small-town restaurants. I probably could have held on to Bishop, since it is much closer to Mammoth Springs than I tend to think it is (even after less than a day).

I made another stop, at Manzanar National Historical Park. I spent more than an hour there – and could have spent more time in the visitor’s center museum alone. I cannot say that I enjoyed the visit, after all this park records one of the darkest chapters in American History, but I felt it was worth it. The reconstructed barracks and mess hall are quite telling, as even with possibly better construction, sand and dirt were everywhere in all three buildings. As I was there, I kept thinking that yesterday would have actually been a better day – today was mostly overcast and not that hot, but yesterday when I had made a pit-stop at a rest area not too much further south it had been over 100 degrees and the wind was blowing; which would have probably made those barracks even more depressing.

The last legs of that drive are the worst. I ended up stopping for dinner near where CA-58 crosses US-395, selecting my dining spot as much on the strength of “its not Burger King” as for any other hope of a good dinner. However, the dinner wasn’t bad.

The drive across the Inland Empire was after dark, and I got slowed for some construction on I-15 between the county line and Escondido (which my GPS tried to route me around, but I ignored it since I couldn’t see the back-up it told me was coming).

I suspect that sometime in the next month (and possibly again regularly for a while afterwards) both Tara M Oakes and I will be making that trip. Given that we’d need to be able to spend part of one day in Reno, I’m thinking that we’ll need to go about as far as Bishop after work on a Friday, the rest of the way to Reno on Saturday and then home on Sunday. At least if we’re both in the car, I won’t have to do all the driving.

(FYI, based on Google maps, I’ve driven about 2,099 miles over the last 8 days – all without a co-driver, and mostly with only myself in the car)