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Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life
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Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Time Event
Getting a Charge on the Way to Japan
One of the long legs of my trip to Japan next year is on an Airbus A330, and Northwest claims that these aircraft have at-seat power outlets for computers. This is good, because there's no way we can carry enough batteries to power two laptop PCs for eight hours. There was nothing I could find on Northwest's web site giving the plug specifications, however. I wanted to make sure that you didn't need some sort of special plug adapter only available by mail order in advance or something stupid like that. (I do seem to remember at least one airline pulling a stunt like that.) Anyway, I wrote to Northwest customer service about this, and their reply, in part, is reassuring:
-110 volt/60 hertz/75 watts max
-current is available in-flight above 10,000 feet only for portable computers/laptops and DVD players.
-One PC power outlet per seat in the following rows for PC power outlets:
-Business/World Class: 1-6
-Coach Class: 10-28
-World Business Class and Coach Class accepts two and three prong US plugs and most 2 prong European plugs.

I would think they'd want to put this on their web site. Possibly they take the outlet type so much for granted that they didn't think anyone would ever ask.

Current Mood: relieved
Nippon 2007 Hotel Booking
I have just posted on nippon2007 pointers to booking a room at Nippon 2007's main hotel (adjacent to the convention center) for a much lower rate than the official one through the convention's travel agent. (About $190/night for two persons, rather than the $264/night through the agent.)

I was somewhat annoyed to discover that the Intercontinental -- the highest-end hotels in the family that includes Holiday Inn -- is also the most miserly when it comes to rewarding Priority Club points. Whereas I get 10 points per dollar spent at a Holiday Inn Express, and therefore figured that my stay at the Grand would net enough points for at least one free HIX night back in the USA, it turns out that you get a fixed 2,000 points per stay at a Grand. That's about one room-night. I guess in theory one could book seven individual stays and try to check in and out each day in an attempt to maximize points, but that's way too much trouble even if there isn't some rule buried in their program to prohibit it.

Nippon 2007's management -- at least their North American agent -- knows about this rate disparity. She says that they're trying to do something about it. Knowing as I do how difficult it can be to work with hotels sometimes, and knowing little about how Japanese convention running goes, I'm loathe to second-guess the folks in Japan trying to put things together here. Had it only been a small difference in price, I might have not flinched so much, but $500 is enough to pay for other parts of the trip. And not having to tie up the entire cost of the stay a year in advance helps, too.

Current Mood: accomplished
Van Repair: That Was Easy
This morning I took the van over to the nearby shop licensed and authorized for the official smog repair program. He took my paperwork, I paid the $100 co-payment (the next $500 was covered by the state), and said he'd call me. Based on his backlog and description of how the program worked, I hoped to have the van back on Friday. Cheryl (who had ridden over with me) and I walked back to the apartment.

After lunch, the shop called just as we were going out for a post-meal walk to tell me, "We put the vehicle on the test stand and it passed. No repairs are necessary." So we walked back over to the shop and collected the vehicle. The $100 was the minimum charge, but I'm not complaining that much. By going through all of the necessary state paperwork hoops (and, importantly, starting the process early so I wouldn't be in a rush), I now have the necessary smog certificate (filed electronically), and I can renew my van's registration with nearly four weeks to spare. And no actual repairs were necessary.

It's almost an anti-climax that after the $100 original test fee and another $100 at the repair-and-retest station, the actual registration fee is only $58.

Current Mood: pleased

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