February 20th, 2009

Kevin and Lisa

Heading North Again

In a few minutes, I'm shutting down the computer and wandering over to the Centerville train station to catch the 12:49 train to Oakland. Thanks to Horizon having moved their flight times a bit, I'm getting to the airport much too early; fortunately, the wi-fi at OAK is now free, so I can get back online while waiting for my 4:40 flight to Portland.

Breakfast this morning consisted of remaining leftovers. I over-estimated food purchases last weekend and found myself with food that either needed to be eaten or thrown away, because it would not be good for me to return in two weeks and find that the leftovers had evolved into sentient life forms and taken over the apartment.

I tried out one of those Space Bags for part of my packing. They do work, and they to make my shirts pack more cleanly in my luggage. Not surprisingly, they do not work as dramatically as in the commercials, but that's because my clothing is not a bunch of super-fluffy sweaters. Also, there's a minor drawback that if I shrink the volume my clothes take up, I'm apt to pack more stuff to fill the available volume, and my luggage is almost certainly sitting right at 50 pounds, what with other things like books and video tapes I'm taking with me (one way) to Oregon. If I'm slightly over-weight, though, I think I can take out a couple of things and put them in my computer bag.

As is my usual paranoia when traveling away from home base to work away from home, I have two separate computers plus a disk-image backup of my primary machine's hard drive that I took last night. Each of these things is in a separate bag. I don't want to find myself away from home having promised to work remotely and then find myself unable to get any work done.
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Pointless Arrow

No Travel Excitement is a Good Thing

I was at the train station with ten minutes to spare, as is my usual practice. I noticed that the Fremont station's older Amtrak signs (the ones with the pointless arrow logo like my icon on this post) have been replaced with newer-style blue-and-white ones. I wonder how long ago that happened. I usually notice these things.

The travel up to Oakland Airport was utterly routine, which is just the way I like it. Having plenty of time, I didn't have to rush. Walking from the airport shuttle bus stop to the terminal, I saw a luggage scale not in active use and weighed my one allowed piece of checked luggage. As I feared, I was slightly over weight because I'm carrying some heavier than usual things this trip, particularly video tapes bought at BASFA auctions to give to Lisa. Fortunately I was only three pounds over, so taking out my jacket and one hardcover book brought me down to 49.3 pounds.

The folks at Terrorization remarked, as they have before, about my having two identical laptop computers. Redundancy, don't you know? They wanted to look through my computer bag, which surprises me not one bit, given all of the miscellaneous electronic bits including my ham radio handset. The TSA guy asked, before opening it, "Do you have a banana in there?"

I said, very straight-faced, "Yes, I do. I know humor is prohibited here, so I won't make any jokes." He laughed at that, and was pretty easy going about everything. I went off to one side to put my shoes and belt back on while he ran tests to make sure my backpack wasn't explosive. I still find the Security Theatre regime intrusive, but friendly, polite people make it less irritating.

Terminal 1's remodeling continues apace. The not-very-good smoothie stand has been replaced by a Starbucks, where I bought a coffee and walked down to my gate. I even found a seat next to a working power outlet, so I wouldn't need to run my batteries down to get back online.

The free wi-fi connected eventually, but required that you watch a "30-second" ad that took about three minutes due to how long it took to download the video before it would allow any other connections. Oh, well, I understand needing to pay the bills.

I'm glad I was able to get online again, though, because there are work-related e-mails that I needed to answer this afternoon. Nothing critical, but things that are better answered today than Monday.
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