Bad and Good
More bad news: The Vagabond Inn at which I've been staying regularly when I'm here appears to have discontinued their internet supersaver promotional rates (15% off rack), which is going to start costing me more money. But I'm not going back to the EZ-8; even I have standards. The Vagabond's rack rate is a little higher than the EZ-8, but the rooms are clean, the plumbing works, and I don't feel nervous every time I go out the door, nor does the staff treat me with suspicion. (Indeed, they recognize me and have been trying to put me into the same room each time I'm here if they can do so.)
Good news: I made the trip to San Jose more or less in one piece. As usual, including a stop for lunch and for rest breaks along the way and picking up groceries for the hotel room as I neared the hotel, it took about 8 1/2 hours. Weather was clear. Too clear; we need snow.
Had the weather been bad, I would have taken the train to the Bay Area; however, today that might not have been a good idea. The California Zephyr was over 4 hours late as of this morning, and as I was leaving Reno heading into the Sierra, I saw it stopped east of Reno with the engineer's cab door open and a truck alongside on the service road, which it unlikely to be a good sign. If the operating crew (engineers and conductors) had gone "dead on the law" — they're only allowed to work 12 hours, and that's 12 hours, not 12:01; there's no flexibility — they would have normally have been relieved at the previous station; in this case Reno. There seems little reason to limp five miles east before re-crewing the train. I never did find out what that was about.
Better news: The 49ers won their playoff game! Although I was driving through a mostly broadcast-radio-free zone, my smartphone mostly didn't lose signal, and to my surprise the KNBR internet radio feed of the San Francisco 49ers-Green Bay Packers playoff came wasn't blacked out. (I thought there was a good chance that NFL wouldn't allow the local stations' broadcasts to be streamed over the internet.) Aside from a few blank spots in cell coverage, I was able to follow the entire game from pre-game to post-game. And oboy was it exciting; probably too much so.
I'd laid down a bet on the 49ers this past week (it is, after all, legal in Nevada). The 49ers were 3 point favorites, which meant they needed to win by more than that for me to win the bet. However, because they ended up winning (on a last-second field goal) by exactly three points, the bet is a "push" and the next time I go home, I can stop by the Sparks Nugget and collect my $20 I originally wagered. So of course I was hoping that Frank Gore would break through on a couple of those runs at the end of the game and score a touchdown; however, I was still happy for the winning field goal. And now it turns out that there's even an outside chance that there might still be one more football game at Candlestick Park, if the New Orleans Saints somehow manage to pull off a huge upset next week and defeat the Seattle Seahawks, while the 49ers need to beat the Carolina Panthers. Ironically, the game broadcast today included commercials telling fans that they can buy the seats from Candlestick Park before the place is torn down.
I hope I'm able to watch the 49ers game next weekend; unfortunately, the schedule is such that I'm apt to be having to check out of one hotel but not yet able to check in to the next one while the game is on, as I'm doing the Holiday Inn shuffle this weekend to chase more IHG points.
(It's not impossible that I might turn up enough points that I could go ahead and convert my Worldcon stay from paid to points. Ordinarily I wouldn't do that; however, it turns out that Loncon's room blocks don't have attrition issues the way Worldcons in the US typically do, so I'm not hurting Worldcon if I can stay on points after all; if anything, I'd be doing someone a good turn by returning rooms to the Loncon block, assuming there are still at that point rooms available for points.)