Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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The Slow Road

We got away from the hotel in Fairfield this morning without incident, bound for downtown San Jose, but we had many stops to make along the way, and we also ended up making some extra incidental stops.

At no time during our trip were we stuck in heavy must-rush-to-the-shopping-mall traffic, thanks to having checked the traffic conditions before leaving and avoiding the worst black spots for the lemming-like rush to engage in mass consumerism.

As we approached Benicia, Lisa decided to stop at the Suisun Bay vista point for a few minutes after I mentioned that the USS Iowa had been laid up in the Mothball Fleet there. You can't see but just the bow of the Iowa from the vista point, and it was cold and windy there, so we moved along.

We made a brief stop at the Niles Canyon Railway station at Sunol before going to Fremont and collecting my van. Lisa wanted to look around the Centerville train station, where she'd never been except briefly at night a few years ago. She has, however, watched the platform often on the Centerville Station Webcams. While we were here, Lisa stopped to take our picture at the station, and this was caught on the webcam:

After satisfying our railfan curiosity, we decamped to our separate vehicles and headed over toward San Mateo, where I had a brief errand at my office. Now that we were traveling en convoy, we alternately used our ham radio and CB rigs to stay in contact. After observing that she seemed to lose the signal when we got more than a few hundred meters apart, Lisa suggested we stop briefly to check antennas. Pulling off at the Bayfront Park in Menlo Park, Lisa got out and had a look at my radio console. Sure enough, the last time I'd pulled the console so that mechanics could get at the "doghouse," I'd cross-wired the CB and 2m ham antennas. They'll work that way, but not very well. I really need to color code those plugs, because the labels are quite difficult to read when you're trying to re-attach them.

At my office, we moved all of Lisa's stuff into my van. Parking is both limited and valet-only at the Sainte Claire hotel where we are this weekend, and Lisa doesn't trust valets with her pickup truck. ("Kids these days can't drive manual transmissions," she said.) So we left her pickup at my office and we drove to San Jose after picking up lunch and smoothies near my office.

Sometime between 3 and 4 PM as I recall, we finally got to the hotel. They were very easy-going about getting us a cart to use to unload our stuff. We're traveling extremely heavy, although in part that's because we had to bring with us things we probably won't need during the convention itself simply because we won't have easy access to the vehicle during our stay. (This will happen again next weekend during SMOFCon, which is in the same hotel.)

After checking in, we went downstairs and got our badges and headed to the second floor near the dealers' room where we were told we were to have a fan table. There was some confusion there, which was resolved when Chairman Craige Howlett said they'd set up a table just inside the dealers' room/art show, with a blank art show flat behind us from which we could hang the Girl Genius Westercon 64 poster.

This is a very small convention, and it was not that big a deal that we were only at the table for about two hours or so this afternoon. The Dealers' Room where we were located was open until 8:30 on Friday evening, but I was starting to fade out by 6:30 and needed to go get dinner. Before that, I talked with people about Westercon, including fielding two queries from people asking about dealer tables. (These I forwarded to the dealers' table address for the convention, since I have no more information than that and we haven't started taking table applications just yet.) The wi-fi works (and is free for hotel guests, even in the function space), which meant I was trading e-mails with Westercon chairman Glenn Glazer, who was presumably sitting at our fan table at Loscon.

Closing out for the day, Lisa and I headed out for dinner. Immediately across the street from the hotel in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez where Christmas in the Park was celebrating its first night of the event, which fills the Plaza from now until Christmas. We admired the exhibits and displays and carnival rides and skirted the fire-and-brimstone preacher who was haranguing the crowd from the fringes of the festival while we walked down to San Pedro Square. We first thought we'd go to the Old Spaghetti Factory, but there was a 30-minute wait to be seated, so we went across the street to the Sonoma Chicken Coop where we got our food probably before we would have been seated at OSF. I had spaghetti anyway, albeit shrimp with marinara sauce instead of meat-and-mizithra cheese at OSF. Lisa praised the BBQ chicken pizza she had, and we shared a tub of calamari. I offered a piece of the fried seafood to Kuma Bear, who seemed indifferent. Probably he was put out that I hadn't ordered the salmon risotto.

Returning to the hotel, we briefly went to the opening reception in the Grand Suite and the other two parties that were just getting into going (it was only just past 9 PM), but we realized how tired we were and decided to retreat to the hotel room early.

We hadn't really unpacked until then, and that's when I discovered that the room has a little mini-fridge — probably a former pay-per-item bar. I wish we'd know that before; I'd not noticed it the room descriptions. Had we known, we could have bought a few perishables like milk and such, but by then we did not feel like going back out again to get groceries. Still, it's good to know this is here since we'll be here for four nights next weekend rather than the two we have this weekend.

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