Louisville and La Jolla, 2008

I had a business trip to San Diego, and I was able to break my flight in Louisville to visit Timly.

Saturday Oct 18/08

My alarm went off at 6am and my first thought was "oh, no". I *really* didn't want to get up, as I'd fallen asleep after midnight the night before. But I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower and the hot water plus the hint of dawn peeking through the blinds was enough to get me going. I brewed a cup of tea while I made breakfast, but after a quick check online, realised that I didn't have enough time to sip it before I had to head out to catch the bus, so I poured what fit into my travel mug and gathered up my suitcase, backpack, and purse and headed out the door. It was chilly, I was glad of my coat and scarf, and wished I had time to dig in my pack for the light gloves I'd thrown in there. I was able to haul my stuff up the hill to the bus stop in time to catch the 7amish bus, but a pair of women that showed up while I was still waiting made it clear that this bus was delayed (or else had come early, and the next scheduled one was early as well). It's always annoying catching the bus when traffic is really light. Fast trip to Harvard Square, and I got off on the street and hit my bank for some cash. Skipped my semi-traditional stop at Tealuxe in favour of getting on the red line right away. I was a bit nervous about time, I was aiming to get there for 8am for my 9:20 flight, but it turned out okay. I had some confusion checking in, as it turned out that my e-ticket wasn't in the system, so I had to check in with an agent. I checked my suitcase and got into the security line. I saw the signs for the novice, intermediate, experienced travellers but they only had business class and intermediate open. Tonnes of people in wheelchairs got rushed past the rest of us, took a while. Luckily we didn't have to go through the puff gate. I was right behind a guy heading overseas with the military, he had a camo fabric covered pillow strapped to the outside of his pack. I had a bit of time to sit at my gate and then they were boarding us. Fairly tiny plane, my pack didn't even fit in the overhead bin, but it fit just right under the seat in front of me. The obligatory screaming baby was one row up and across, but the noise cancelling headphones blocked it out just enough. Bit of a bumpy flight to Cincinnati, I think we flew over the city's football stadium.

On the ground, I barely had time to get to my next gate, hit the bathroom, and grab a smoothie for lunch. I also picked up a bagel but it wasn't well toasted and they'd put way too much cream cheese on it. There were two wings of doubled gates, luckily not too many people waiting but lots of announcements. Once I got on the plane, there was a young boy in front of me, and two ladies across from him that were patronising him (asking who he was going to visit, and breezing past his admission that his parents just divorced, and telling him all about the area around Lexington even though he'd been there before). I think the lady in the pair of seats across the aisle from me used the air sickness bag, I was never more thankful for my headphones, I didn't hear a thing, just saw a small bag silhouetted against the sun, liquid sloshing in the bottom. :/ I stopped in the bathroom to give my suitcase a chance to hit the luggage carousel, and called Timly when I was out. He was waiting for me, and I practically walked into him before finishing the phone call. :) My bag came out quickly and we were off to the parking garage.

As we were driving, I got to see all the horse farms that I'd flown over from close up. We also stopped to check out a castle that was going up on the road between the airport and the highway. It looked like just the top of one, but it had round towers and a keep in the centre, and had an impressively long facing side. The drive to Louisville was fairly easy, highways all the way, about an hour on the road. The CD player was acting up a bit, so we ended up chatting over just the road noise. We stopped at a small grocery to get some food, originally the plan was to stop at a bigger grocery, but there was a university football game on and we got stuck in traffic and then diverted away from the necessary road. It was kind of neat seeing all the fans streaming toward the stadium, they dress in the team colours as much as Red Sox fan do, and the base red is very similar. Finally made it to his house, and I got to see the tiny room where his kids play. We watched a bit of his Firefly box set, and went out for food, hitting up the Mongolian Grill nearby, and getting engulfed by more football fans, a lot of the teenaged ones had apparently picked there to get food. I picked out some veggies and noodles and the woman made up a thin black bean sauce from vats of various oils and flavourings. It was pretty good, though it didn't taste very much at all like black bean. There was also a radio station blaring, spot halogen lights, and bright and shiny aluminum tables and chairs, so I wasn't tempted to stay longer than the time it took to eat.

Back to the house and got dressed to head out to the club, Fuzion, I'd put my green plaid zippery dress in my backpack just in case my suitcase didn't make it, but hadn't been looking forward to making do with my travel shoes (runners), so was glad to see my suitcase with my docs. Timly was insistent that it was getting chilly outside, so I bundled up in my scarf and coat, and was a bit put out that it wasn't even freezing. :) I should have left them in the car, we were parked a short block from the club and there wasn't a coat check. Timly spotted friends and introduced me around (after he ran back to the car to get his ID). The stage was set up way in the back, we wound our way through a few smaller rooms, and then back again and upstairs when the performance art act hadn't started yet. Chatted more, saw Timly's ex and his ex-wife's room mate, the guest DJ, and a couple who'd come down from Dayton OH for the concert. Back to the back, and the performance had started, it turned out to be a series of presentations, I think we missed one or two. A lovely acting out of the "Vincent" short written by Tim Burton, a kinda bland lip synch to a song, then Edwin (?) did a passionate lip synch to an aria, and it phased into dancing to a techno remix with two other performers joining him on stage. A short DJ set and then the band, Mother Father took to the stage. I'd noticed most of the band hanging around the club waiting to go on, the lead singer was intense, reminded me of Nick Cave in his facial features and passion. The crowd seemed to melt away in ones and twos, but I enjoyed their set, though it was probably more on the pure rock end of the spectrum than the club patrons expected. Lots of people had zombie or demon make up on, hopefully for a pre halloween thing. Then the DJs took to the decks again and Timly and I tore up the dance floor for a while. :) Lots of fun dancing there, the floor is right in front of the stage, and I was more comfortable when they turned down the lights - my knee wasn't all that happy with me for dancing so much, though. Quick drive back to the apartment, and we were back just after 2am. I think it was then that he showed me a clip from a ventriloquist/comedian who's puppet was a muppet like ape, it had me giggling, though it may have been before we went out for dinner.

Sunday Oct 19/08

Timly kindly made me his celebrated pancakes for breakfast, with both of us bundled up a bit due to the chilly kitchen. I took a quick shower and packed up my stuff, and we hit the road for the airport, stopping for gas along the way. Again with the issues checking in, it turned out that despite my itinerary saying Delta all over it, I was flying Northwest Airlink to Detroit and then NW to SD. Hrmph. Didn't check my bag since they were charging $15 for it, and valet checked it as I was boarding. Timly left me in the security line, it took a while to get through it as people were slow going through the single xray machine (and they ran out of bins as I got to the front). There was a flight before mine, also to Detroit, which was super delayed (noon to 4:45 or so). Read and dozed on the hour long flight. In Detroit, got an Einstein Bros bagel (pumpkin w/pumpkin cream cheese), and kept it for the plane. Then over to Terminal A with the stupid tunnel freaking me out (lights changing colours, noisy music), and had japanese food (eel and tofu) - both food places big on the upsell. To gate, typed up weekend so far.

Just had time to visit the washroom when they started crowding the gate. They only did first class, preboarding and then general, no zones or rows for a full flight even. I was back in row 20, had to wait a while in the aisle, and then had to block a guy from putting a suitcase up where I wanted to put mine (on my side, he had a free spot on his, okay I didn't have to, but he was standing and not moving when I could have been putting mine up). It was a bigger plane at least, 3 and 3 seats, and my suitcase fit okay. I was in the window seat, with a guy looking out the window a lot next to me. I stayed awake for the beverage service. But when I set up my mp3 player to play the Delerium album Karma, I only remember hearing the first one, I conked right out. I woke up a bit when we were starting to descend, kept my headphones on to block the noise, no music though. Out of the plane fairly quickly, and down and out to the shuttle van stop. A cloud 9 shuttle showed up fairly quickly, I was the first one there, but we ended up taking 30 mins to get out of the airport as the slow acting driver kept adding people. Luckily only one stop was made before the Sheraton, and since two of us were getting off (I think) it was 20 instead of the 35 that the driver charged the first guy. Check in was accomplished with the help of an understanding clerk, I was so tired everything had to be repeated twice. Then missed the stairs and elevator on my building, and went up the far stairs. My room overlooks the highway valley, and there's a wierd buzzing sound. Unpacked to let my business clothes hang out the wrinkles, let people know that I made it, and crashed into bed afer realising that I didn't have the mental cycles to deal with figuring out why my computer power cord was causing the computer to shut down. Alarm set for 6:30, then 7, then 7:15 as it got later and later before I got to sleep.

Monday Oct 20/08

Ended up waking up at 6:30 anyway, took a quick shower, had to iron my shirt anyway, and then ran out to catch the 7:30 shuttle to UCSD. Talked a bit with Shawn M. on the way there. Back in the building from last time, but it's cold. I ran out of my room w/o my runners (in my house shoes) and w/o my sweater. At least the tea hot water doesn't taste of coffee. Continental breakfast with Wendy as I got an update, and I was able to start charging my laptop. Caught Dan to get a debugging session on XND (turned out to be a cygwin unzip issue). During the morning updates I worked on getting my instance populated with useful data for the afternoon demo. We worked through the break period (and started 1/2 hour late) so I ran down to get a snack when my head started getting light. Lunch was Mexican food, surprise surprise, talked a bit with Christine, but she had to run to a meeting. Got chai at the kiosk on the plaza as they weren't offering hot water for lunch. Up to the meeting room to try and get some work done before the aftersoon session, but it was locked. Luckily the admin person arrived in the next elevator and opened it up. Then others streamed in. The room was *cold*, and without my sweater I was shivering. :/ Was able to give a decent demo, bypassing the things that didn't work. I think we stopped at around 5:30 or so, and caught the shuttle back to the hotel. I had some time to kill and ended up catching up with personal email and futzing around online. I think I was able to talk briefly with Cris, as his flight to Honolulu had just landed and he had some time before he had to go out for a meal with his co-workers for a debriefing.

We'd agreed to go to Ginza sushi restaurant for dinner, at 7pm. Steve called me to say that it was in the second mall down the road, I popped my head into the lobby but didn't see anyone, and started walking along the main road. I'd put my coat and scarf on, but warmed up enough by walking to open it up. I found the movie theatre that Ginza was beside, and then the restaurant. I was in the middle of the arrivals, and passed on the sushi boat that they'd ordered, planning to get my own meal. Of course this resulted in mini drama when the bill came and I just paid for my own rather than going in for the evenly split bill that included alcohol (that drives me nuts, we never get a say before they split it that way). The food was okay, I got the chirashi, and green tea to drink, it was about $20 and filled me up just the right amount. Anthony and I walked back together, through the other mall parking lot, and talked about books some more. I did a quick change and popped outside in my bathing suit and a robe to the hot tub. The jet timer was set, but no bubbles came out, but the water was warm enough to be slightly steaming, so I soaked for a while and tried to stretch out the knots from carrying my laptop around. Nice to look up and see stars behind the palm trees. No one else was there, it was relaxing. I took a quick shower and chatted on the phone for a while, then got to sleep by 11.

Tue Oct 21/08

Up again at 7am, quick change and out to catch the shuttle to UCSD. As I half expected, for the official all hands meeting (yesterday was just working groups), we had a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs and stuff in wraps. I actually felt like I got enough food. Sat with Wendy and Sandy and a woman who was going to be having her partner fly in from the midwest the next day to get married while CA still allowed same sex marriages (well, before the general vote on the issue). She'd been trying to find a rental car and not having any luck, so I abandoned my vague plan to drive up to LA to see my uncle again. The plenary talk was really quick, he reused slides from 2003 or so, summarising where we'd been then. Total cop out, and it kinda depressed me to realise that I'd been on this project for 7 years. Then the room we were going to be in was changed, and then the new one was too full for the joint meeting, so we moved back to the theatre (massive black cave, so depressing, and folding chairs that killed my back). I got more chai in my travel mug, dropping the lid, and then spilling the over fill when I put it on. Was vaguely cranky most of the morning, spent the time looking at code. During lunch (the dreaded bread and cheese and deli meats, I got out too late to get any grilled veggies and they didn't refill the plate), I basked in a sun beam and talked a bit with Dingying. Then I took a short walk around the building to take in a bit more heat, and then dove back into the cave. Bit more into the discussion this afternoon, got a demo on Amazon's S3 and cloud computing infrastructure. We finished at around 5pm, and Wendy and I caught the shuttle back to the hotel, planning to meet up again at 6 for dinner. Again with plans changing, it was just us to start then Cindy and Sandy, then maybe Hans and Katie, so I ordered a van taxi, only to find out when I went down to the lobby just before 6 to wait that it would only be the two of us after all. Which was what I wanted anyway. It turned out to be one of the drivers and vans that were shuttling us to UCSD and back that took us into downtown La Jolla. We had him drop us off on Girard Ave, just before Spice and Rice, and walked up. Wendy liked the open patio area, we were seated under a heat lamp that helped keep us warm. She has a lot of orchids at home and appreciated the orchids in hanging planters on the wall. I had the pineapple fried rice this time (in half a pineapple), and the thai spring rolls - both good - but our second app of fried calamari was a bit tough. We had a good talk, Wendy and I were both a bit more relaxed now that the meeting was over. On our way back, we flagged down a cab on the corner, and the driver was following GPS instructions from a set that he was waving around. Some abrupt turns had Wendy grabbing my arm, but he was nice, and we made it in one piece. I talked to J., T, and C on the room phone, really hope that incoming calls are free! Really tired, was asleep by 10pm.

Wed Oct 22/08

So of course I woke up at 7am. Showered and went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, where I had some mediocre blueberry pancakes, but at least I remembered to ask for no butter. Sketched out a UI to work on today, back to room, worked for a bit until housekeeping was making noises in the hall and then went over to the mall to get a card for my brother at the CVS (and an ice cream bar for me, it's going to get hot today!) and mail it. But when I came back I found that they'd done the other side of the hall, rather than the building from end to end. Put up the do not disturb sign and got to work. Broke a bit early to eat dinner leftovers for lunch, then back to it. Took a break to read by the pool, half in sun, that was nice. The housekeeping carts kept skipping my room, I had the do not disturb sign up for a little while longer and then got a note slipped under the door at around 4pm that they were skipping me and to call to get the room done. It always stresses me out a little bit to be hanging around hotel rooms during the day, the potential intrusion of house keeping has me on edge. It didn't help that someone came by to drop off a corkscrew, getting the wrong room. I finally got up the gumption to leave the vicinity of the hotel, after google maps came through with transit directions to downtown La Jolla (one bus, and it was even one bus to go to Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego, but my sweet tooth wasn't clamouring for it, so La Jolla it was).

The #30 bus wound along the edge of the UCSD campus, then by the aquarium where we'd once had a work dinner, and along the coast. Nice views, and I spotted the coast walk that I was going to try. The bus went through downtown a different way than I was expecting, but I jumped out only one stop late, and walked down to the ocean. It was gorgeous, the sun starting to go down, waves crashing, sea lions on the rocks and harbor seals on a beach, and storks and sea gulls and pigeons and possibly orcas but maybe dolphins swimming parallel to the beach. I took a lot of pictures, pushing for more as my camera's battery started to die. Then I walked back up along Girard and did some window shopping (tried on a blue brocade frock style coat, but the puffed sleeves and huge lapels didn't work) as I made my way up to My Place Bistro. A couple was finishing up their prix fixe meal as I sat down, and I was the only one in there until a table of older women sat down. I gave into temptation and got the warm brie on toast, and the pasta provencal w/o olives, and gorged myself on the warm apple tart tatin (though the home made caramel sauce was just a bit burned). Rolled out of there to the bus stop and took the 30 back to my hotel. In UCSD, we got swamped with students finished for the day. I arranged for a taxi to come by at 5am to get me to the airport, and then I started to pack, but kept getting calls, my parents wanted to talk to me when I was in their time zone for once. The hotel switch board must think I'm a popular gal. :) I was getting tired, luckily, since I had to be up at 4:30, and I crashed out just after 10pm after packing everything but my clothes for the next day and my toiletries.

Thur Oct 23/08

I was able to get up and get going when my phone alarm function went off, taking a quick shower to wake up. I did in room checkout and my taxi was waiting for me when I went down at just before 5am. Fast trip to the airport, which was good, cause there was a decent line at check in (free to check one bag this time, on Delta proper), and then a big line at security. Luckily it moved fast, though the hard of hearing old guy in front of me whacked me solidly in the head with a plastic bin when I had put my laptop in it and he started to grab it. I was cranky after that, he didn't acknowledge that he'd hit me at all. :/ I had time to get water, trail mix, and a bagel before getting on the plane. I actually ate the bagel while waiting to board. I was in a window seat again, and the guy next to me disappeared after a while, so I had a bit of room. I dozed through to about Ohio then read. The transfer in JFK was hellish, not in terms of distance, I only had to go down a hallway, but in terms of noise and crowding. :/ It was so loud, with echoes and competing announcements, that I couldn't hear the seating zone announcements. The bathroom was packed full and jostling as well, with a too narrow strip between the stalls and the sinks for all the luggage and strollers that were crammed in with the people. I soon had a pounding headache, and retreated into my noise cancelling headphones, mp3 player and book. I was in the last boarding group, and had to disturb two guys to get at my window seat, but after that, blissful quiet. Quick jump up the coast to Boston, and then a long haul out of terminal A to baggage claim, and still had to wait for my suitcase, but at least it appeared. Took the T home, and almost started crying when the red line had a slow down while there was a screaming kid trapped in the car with me. Luckily they got off at the next stop, and the bus came as I was walking up to the stop. It was crowded, I had to stand the whole way, but it cleared out enough to get me and my luggage out with no problems at my stop.

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