My week started fairly normally on Monday. However, near the end of the day I had a meeting related to both of the projects I am responsible for. But at that meeting things started to diverge from plans.
The week before, I’d mentioned to my boss (or the person I take work direction from rather than my supervisor – matrix organization) that I would be coming to San Jose on Thursday and could come up earlier if needed. But since nothing had come of it, I figured that was off. Nope! He asked if I could fly up on Wednesday morning and work Wednesday and Thursday morning in the office. I came up so that I could get the test system in Santa Clara working
So I started working on changing my travel plans. The person in the San Diego office who handles travel wasn’t in, so I got in touch with the person in Santa Clara and she got back to me, as I was getting off the bus for my walk home. We quickly determined that I’d have to call Southwest about getting just my ticket moved and leaving Tara’s untouched.
So once I got home, I called Southwest and got the ticket updated so that I was flying out on Wednesday morning. I’d had some thoughts of taking the early (6:30-ish) flight, but opted for the 8:30 flight instead. I then sent the Santa Clara travel person my updated flight info so she could set up the car and hotel.
Tuesday I drove to the bus largely to give me more time in the evening to pack (I needed to bring the dry good party supplies up with me in the larger suitcase), and got packed. I also printed out the party and other fliers for the “Westercon on √66″ bid so that Tara could bring them up with her.
Wednesday I didn’t get off quite as early as I’d have liked – but plenty early to deal with the San Diego airport. When I was checking my bag, I learned that my flight was delayed, but not by enough to really worry about.
I got through security (no back-scatter x-ray machines at that checkpoint), but had to have my bag gone through. I’d forgotten to remove my bike lock from when I’d tried riding to the bus stop weeks before, and also had the base to the GPS. These had to be rescreened, and I had to wait. At least they didn’t have to be thrown away.
Once I got to the gate area, got some water and some Chai Tea, I fired up my laptop and did a small amount of work (and moved the exterminator’s appointment off until after we’re back) before I needed to board.
The flight was good, and I got to work reasonably. The day ran fairly well and I was (mostly) able to get stuff working so I expected to have an easy day on Thursday.
When I got to the hotel, I discovered that somehow the “lock” that I mostly have used to keep the main pocket zipper pulls in place had actually become locked. And none of the combinations I tried (three of the same digits, any code I might have set) worked. So I took Tara’s suggestion and called the hotel. A few minutes later a hotel maintenance person showed with one of the large set of bolt cutters, which made short work of the pull tabs (but made them shorter).
After work and unpacking for one night, I grabbed dinner at Sweet Tomatoes (where I followed someone wearing an Off World Designs T-Shirt with some of Ray Van Tilburg’s art on it), and spent some time walking around Fry’s to kill time and get some exercise. I also got a role of electrical tape to cover the sharp edges where the zipper pulls on my suitcase had been cut.
Thursday didn’t start too badly. I was able to sleep in (since I was about 3 minutes for work – 10 when I stopped at Starbuck’s on the way (the Starbuck’s is not on the short route from the hotel to the office)). I got to the office, and checked the results of my tests from the previous night’s test of the test system. Key tests had failed. So I had to track down what was wrong.
Finally, I found the right people to help, and we quickly determined that one piece of equipment had become confused and thought that it had two phones with the same IMSI (basically SIM card ID) and didn’t know where to route the messages.
So I kicked off another test, and headed out. But as I was leaving, my boss asked me to keep the car in case I needed to come back and resolve any further problems.
By this time Tara was on her way (after having to wait at the airport because she showed up 2 hours before when she thought her flight left, which was two hours early). I had a couple of hours to kill before I needed to be in the cell phone waiting area. (Tara’s flight was also running almost an hour late on its Seattle to Phoenix leg).
So I found a mall that looked like a good source of lunch and time-fill, and headed out. I got to the mall, a Westfield mall south of here on or near the San Jose/Santa Clara line. However, the mall is – at least to someone on the inside – a bit of a maze since it is made up of two not-straight halls connected with several cross-hallways. So it took me a while to find the restrooms (first priority at that point). I finally found my way back to the CPK where I got lunch and left about as late as I was comfortable. I found the cell phone waiting area, and waited.
Once Tara had her bag, I headed out and picked her up and started heading for the hotel. The GPS was unclear about where I needed to turn to get onto CA-87 south so we ended up going down 1st street for a while. We got to the hotel, unloaded the car and I moved it to the Pavilion’s parking garage recommended by Kevin Standlee.
As we were checking in, Tara asked if I’d recoginized the person we’d just walked past. I hadn’t, since I was focused on finding the front desk. It turns out two of the actors from Chuck were there to do a set at the nearby Improv that evening. We thought about going, but decided that it was going to be too late at least for Tara who’d gotten up for work at 4:00 (and had to put up with a very needy cat the night before)
While at the hotel, I got the e-mail from the test system. Most of the test cases had failed (or as it turned up had set-up failures which is worse for me). So I was going to have to come in to the Santa Clara office on Friday
About six, Tara and I headed out for dinner and supplies. We ended up at a very crowded Johnny Rockets (she didn’t want to do South Asian at Tandori and I didn’t want to do East Asian at Asia Express – one of our few big culinary incompatibilities). We then got the car and headed for the full service Safeway nearby.
But getting out of the garage was a bit frustrating due to the large number of young people (including a few trying to shake the building down with their car stereo bass). The situation down 2nd and the road in front of the Sainte Claire and convention center wasn’t much better.
After getting groceries, we returned to the garage, only to find it full. We just said “the heck with it” and decided since Qualcomm is paying for parking, we’d just park with the valet and make sure we only got charged for one night.
The problem was a weekly summer concert in the park (Cesar Chavez?) located across the street from the Fairmont. When it seemed louder under the parking canopy than the concert I’d been at a week before (maybe not that much louder, but I was also a lot closer to the speakers there), we worried about conditions in our room which faces the park. Fortunately, our room was noise free.
On Friday (today as I type), I got up and headed into work fairly early. I stopped at the same Starbuck’s, but got breakfast as well as tea, and headed into the office. I’m hoping that the system updates I made this morning will resolve the problem and I’ll have good evidence it is working so that I can be back to the hotel early in the afternoon. I also have a couple of other things I can look at while waiting.
But since the party this evening (6:60pm – 8:30pm) is from my idea, I had better be back before it gets too late. I’d also like to avoid having to head to the airport in traffic like I did in December.
Hopefully, Westercon 64 itself will be more fun and less frustrating.