September 15th, 2008


All That Jazz

Cheryl writes of our Jazz adventure on this final night in New Orleans. We went to Preservation Hall to sit on hard wooden benches (and for a while, stand at the back because there was no space on the hard wooden benches) and listen to jazz for most of three hours. If you enjoy the music, it's a great experience. I don't ordinarily seek out this stuff, but I'm happy to listen to it and I enjoyed it a great deal. As Cheryl said, there was no amplification -- but the room didn't need it. And the place just oozes "atmosphere" -- which is one way of saying that it's a dark hall that looks to be in dire need of repairs.

Many years ago, through the end of elementary school, I played the clarinet. I gave it up in high school; I'm not good enough, nor did I want to take the time it would take in practice to become good enough, but I at least know the basics of the instrument, and thus I took particular interest in the clarinet solos. Except that I couldn't figure out the instrument from a distance. The keys didn't look quite right. After the show, I went up and thanked the clarinetist individually, and admired his instrument. He explained that his clarinet was over a hundred years old and used a key pattern different from modern ones -- more like that of a saxophone. I wasn't especially good with a clarinet when I played regularly; I would have been completely hopeless. As I put it, "I gave up on the clarinet when I concluded it was a torture instrument, at least for the poor player." But he was very good, as were all of the others in the band.

We had popped out for a quick dinner between the band's first and second sets, so we didn't have to scramble for something to eat when the show let out at 11 PM and instead we headed back to the hotel. Bourbon Street is a little bit slower on a Sunday night, but things were still banging along as we made the trip back through Sin City.

I'm sure glad that we have a 2 PM check-out on Monday. Our flight isn't until about 5:30 PM (it's the converse of the one from MSP that got us here). We have a late-night arrival at SFO tomorrow night. Unfortunately, we've been booked into a window-center seat pair on the MSP-SFO leg, and all of the aisle seats have "pay us extra if you want to sit here" tags on them. I may not be in the greatest shape when we get home very late Monday/early Tuesday.
Conrunner Kevin

Nice Not Having to Rush

Not having to set an alarm for 3 AM and rush around packing up the hotel room is a great thing. Having Platinum status that gives me an 2 PM check-out, even when staying on points, is also a great thing. Now we only have to figure out what to do for breakfast.
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    relaxed relaxed
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Conrunner Kevin

NWA's Computer Likes Me

At sethb's urging, I logged in to look at my flight reservation to see if maybe seats freed up on the aisle. Turns out I didn't have to do anything -- Northwest's reservation system had, without any prompting from me, moved our seats from the previous window-center to a center-aisle pair, which is a great relief to me, for it means I won't have to climb over someone multiple times. (On a typical three-hour flight, I will have to get up at least twice -- diuretics may keep my blood pressure under control, but they're not good for situations where you're supposed to sit in one place for hours on end.)
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    pleased pleased
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Conrunner Kevin

Luck Couldn't Last Forever

We've been remarkably lucky this weekend. We've only been out the far edges of Hurricane Ike, so all we got was mostly high winds. But this morning the rain that has threatened all weekend finally arrived, and did so while we were out having breakfast. We huddled inside Cafe du Monde eating our last beignets until we could wait no longer, then headed out into what was at first light rain, but turned much heavier soon after.

I had not brought either a hat or an umbrella, and got pretty soaked. That was my last clean shirt, but fortunately with our late check-out, we had time for me to try and use the blow-dryer in the hotel room to sort of dry it out before we had to move out.

Northwest paged me to let me know that my flight is on time for this afternoon -- I think the equipment for our flight probably just took off from MSP about now -- and all looks good. The connection to SFO appears to be very full, though, so a bump is a possibility if my work can tolerate it. I could probably work over the weekend to make up the time if necessary.

I don't think either MSY or MSP airports have free wi-fi, so don't expect to hear from either Cheryl nor I until tomorrow.
Conrunner Kevin

Living in Airports

Turns out the wi-fi as MSY is free. There wasn't much point in hanging around for one more hour at the hotel after we checked out at 2 PM, so we took a taxi to the airport, arriving way early for our 5:35 flight.

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It's about an hour until our flight is scheduled to depart, and since it's a CRJ-900, it doesn't take an hour to board like the bigger planes. From the weather outlook around here, it looks like we'll have a bit of a bumpy ride climbing up and over the remains of Hurricane Ike, but otherwise things look (fingers crossed) uneventful.