After a lot hassle, I finally made it to Seattle. I had to step out on faith that I'd actually have a ticket, but once I got to O'Hare and scanned my frequent flier card, the ticket printed and my bag got checked. I later confirmed with someone that I had a ticket and would make it.
The flight was delayed about 45 minutes due to a problem with the igniter in the port engine, but uneventful after crossing the storms just West of Chicago. We landed not quite as late as we'd taken off. I got my bag and car and headed out. I had brought the GPS with me, and had to look up the hotel by address since Bellvue was too far from SeaTac to find it in the list. One the GPS had locked on, I noticed that it was giving me an arrival time of more than 2 hours later, which surprised me, until I realized that it was still reporting in Central time.
Once I got to the hotel and unpacked, I determined that I wanted at least a light dinner, so I asked the GPS for suggestions, and settled on a Qdoba. However, after following the directions, I couldn't find it. Instead I tried a Black Bear Diner (a small chain out of Mount Shasta CA), and had a very nice salmon dish with mashed sweet potatoes and cooked carrots, followed by an evil blackberry cobbler with ice cream. After that I ran by Target to get a cheap watch -- the battery in mine died before I got to O'Hare, and my replacement needs to visit a jeweler before it will stay on my wrist.
The next morning, after breakfast and checking out, I found my way to the Microsoft office where I'd be interviewing. My interview started OK, including the recuriter mentioning Norwestcon, and explaining that there were a number of Fans at MS. It went downhill from there. While talking with the first person, I had a bit of trouble remembering the trick to doing a level-order transversal of a binary tree. The second person seemed OK, but then the third person, the hiring manager, would barely let me finish an answer before cutting me off. Finally, he told me, more or less, that my "coding was not sufficiently mature." Although I didn't react then, I took this, and still take this, as a sever and deliberate insult. He further went on to tell me that it took him a couple of tries to pass a MS interview, and acted like working for Microsoft would be the pinnacle of a career for a Software Engineer. With an attitude like that, I don't know if I would want to work for him, or his employer. After that, I left the interview just after noon without lunch.
I had originally planned to find a Keg for dinner, but decided to go to one for lunch and then see if I could get on an earlier flight without having to risk sitting around at the airport all day. I got to The Keg in Kirkland about 12:30, and had more salmon -- this time clearly wild caught Alaskan salmon -- and completely enjoyed lunch. I was less successful at getting my flight changed, since I didn't want to spend the $75.00 for a change fee that might not be reimbursed -- although in retrospect, it might have been worth it.
When I called Tara to let her know how the interview had gone, she told me about the badge problems. I had her have someone call me to see if I could figure out how to solve it. When Jeff called back, we determined that he had implemented a decent work around, and could live with it for Friday.
Instead, I headed for the Seattle Center, and visited the Science Fiction Museum and the Experience Music Project. I enjoyed the SF museum, even if wasn't harboring nice thoughts about the company that let the founder earn the money to set it up. After that, I took the monorail downtown and walked through the Pike Place market (which was crowded) down to the aquarium. I didn't spend as much time there as I would have liked to between the crowds, and the fact that I was tired. I then walked back, got the monorail and returned to my car.
At that point, I had planned to find a Starbucks to use their internet to check e-mail and possibly see if I could figure out what was up with the DucKon badges. However, I quickly decided that the ones nearby would have paid parking, and be busy, so I decided the safest, quickest way to a suburb with free parking would be to cross the lake (for the second time that day) on I-90. Once I got across I-90, I used the GPS to find a Starbucks. However, it was on the wrong side of the road (if I hadn't turned when the GPS told me, I could have turned streight in, instead I was trapped on the wrong side. Instead, I made a quick stop at a Taco Bell and bought a "sorry I had to run in and use your bathroom" small diet pepsi. I then found my way over to the Starbucks -- actually the one of two in the same strip center that had parking nearby.
I never could connect to the net there, however, since I didn't have my proper username for T-Mobile wi-fi. I called customer support, but didn't hear back in time. As I was finally leaving I was, however, very amused to look up and notices 4 or 6 buildings above this strip center all with T-Mobile logos on them.
I finished up my long day in Seattle by spending about half an hour wondering a lakeside park in Bellvue, then repacking my suitcases and driving to the Bellvue Square mall and wondering around until it was time to leave for the Airport.
My red-eye flight left on time -- but only 5 minutes after the delayed earlier red-eye on the same route. I had been upgraded to First Class, which let me get some sleep, but not enough. I did hear that we followed the other flight all the way to O'Hare, where they arrived about 5 minutes before we did. But, when the bags for the two Seattle flights, and the Portland red-eye started coming off, the bags from my flight -- including mine -- were first.
The travel part of the trip was only marred by the fact that the parking garage took over half an hour to pick me up.
I arrived at DucKon about 7:00 Saturday morning. I had thought about getting breakfast on the way, but the GPS routing had me on the tollways before I saw anywhere to get food. Instead, I realized that Ops was open 24 hours this year, and went there to get my badge. However, what would have been an easy walk in, say "hi" and get my badge was thrown for a bit of a loop when the person in Ops was one of the few DucKon people I didn't know, and didn't know me. It didn't take long to solve that.
I then went to con suite where I was able to get some Cherios (which I don't like all that well) and fruit to hold me for a while. I then put a note under our door so that Tara could call me when she and Derrick were awake, not wanting to risk waking Derrick up any earlier than his stomach would normally.
Once they were awake I managed to get a shower and then get into the reg room to look at the badge problem. Fairly quickly, I reproduced the problem and determined that it was not going t be fixed at con.
After an hour so so of making sure everything was running OK, I headed up to our room to try to nap. However, just about the time I fell asleep, I got a call informing me that the network had crashed. I was able to get it back up and running, but decided that I wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep.
The rest of the day was a bit of a drifty blur of working reg, and wandering the con. I did make it to the Chi-bid meeting, but Tara and Derrick didn't want dinner afterwards. I was unsure about spending $20.00 for a prime-rib buffet when I couldn't eat the featured main course, so I walked over to the new restaurants just west of the hotel only to find a closed -- but marked as open -- Subway and a Maginios without a Corner Bakery Cafe. I ended up back at the hotel for the buffet anyway. I then went to art auction and a few parties with Tara before going to bed a bit before midnight.
On Sunday we woke up late for a Sunday at DucKon, got some food in Green Room (mostly pastries and bagels, which didn't do well for me later) and I helped open reg. Sunday was much like Saturday for me, but I did make closing and feedback. Not much feedback, and it was all positive, so things look OK. After that I sent Tara and Derrick home, but didn't communicate that they shouldn't wait for me for dinner. It took longer to tear down the reg office than normal since we didn't have as much help, and I was showing Helen how to use the web version of the program before shutting down.
After tearing down the office, I hung around for probably too long talking before heading home.
This morning after dropping picking up the dog, and dropping off the kid at daycare for swimming, Tara and I had a brief discussion -- more brief then I had expected -- and reached a decision. Since I haven't officially formalized it yet, I'm not going to announce it (but I may have left clues just in what I said). I'll let people know as soon as it is official.