August 3rd, 2009

Montreal

Business Meeting Page Updates

We're received some additional committee reports and accordingly updated the WSFS Business Meeting information on the Anticipation web site. This is the last of the reports we expected to receive and the final planned update before the convention.

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Although there usually is not a Business Meeting on Monday, there have been some rumblings of postponing consideration of the Best Graphic Story Hugo Award until a Monday meeting so that the meeting could have the benefit of seeing the detailed Hugo Awards nomination and voting results.
Kevin and Lisa

Clever Girl

Last night, I was fussing over our schedule for this morning when Lisa informed me that we didn't need to go out for breakfast because she'd backed a couple of lightweight bowls and some of my Glucerna cereal (four servings' worth) in an old coffee container so it wouldn't get crushed in her luggage. That made this morning a fair bit more restful.

In a little while, after we've cleaned up, we'll repack for tonight's train trip and then store our bag with the hotel before we head off to the Museum of Science and Industry. Our train doesn't leave until 21:00 tonight. Seeing the mob scene of people boarding other Amtrak trains, I'm really glad that there's a first-class "Metropolitan Lounge," and that sleeping-car passengers are invited aboard the Lake Shore Limited early. However, the early-boarding "reception" is only light snacks, so we'll need to get dinner before retrieving our bags from the hotel and geting back to the station

There is apparently wi-fi access at the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge at Union Station, so I may be able to get back online tonight sometime; otherwise, we're casting off again until tomorrow afternoon in Schenectady.
Kevin and Lisa

Day 6: Chicago

I left Lisa to sleep in for a while this morning while I caught up on my e-mail. We made a light breakfast in the hotel room and repacked for tonight's trip on the train, then checked out of the room and stored our six pieces of luggage (eek!) with the hotel.

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I enjoyed my second trip here, and could easily see coming back again.
Kevin and Lisa

In Which We Become Potential National Security Threats

As we stood at the Metra Electric 55/56/57 St Station waiting for our train back downtown from the museum to arrive, Lisa got out her camera. She took pictures of the train as it approached the platform. We went and sat down, and the conductor came to collect our tickets. He said, "I saw that you were taking pictures as we came in. That's against the law."

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It boils my blood to let these "jobsworths" get away with petty stuff like this. I do very much intend to follow up with Metra about this outrage. Lisa is still shaky. I also intend to write to Trains magazine – the most widely-read American railroading magazine – and for good measure, Rail magazine in the UK, where I picked up the "jobsworth" term because the same thing has been happening there as well.

If there is such a law/rule/policy, Metra should be publicizing it. But I've also heard that police sometime claim that it's a "secret law." Secret Law is a fundamental violation of American Law, and it is a step toward a dictatorship in the name of "security."

Ironically, the Amtrak porter who took us to our sleeping car at Union Station told us of a group traveling on our train this evening that had been taking pictures of it, and he couldn't understand the fascination. Amtrak has a policy about photography, albeit a stupid one that clearly isn't meant to be enforced – "Only ticketed passengers may photograph trains." They don't claim that there's a Secret Law banning rail photography. Sheesh.

Addendum, 5 Aug 00:05: Lisa had me do a Google Image search and points out that the search "Metra Electic Chicago" returns more than 79,000 images, many of which are very similar to what she was shooting. How, pray tell, will our photos damage "security?"