Feed on

Well, I may technically fail NaBloPoMo on account of not posting each of the entries I’m going to write during my stay in New Orleans, but I will write nightly my impressions of the trip, and I’ll get them up online when I get home. Since I’ve been having to tote this portly laptop all over creation, I’m going to make use of it for a little while each evening.

Today was mostly a travel-and-prep day. Joel took me out to the airport this morning, bright and early. I hadn’t flown since 2000, and therefore wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of hassle these days. I went by the old 2-hours-before rule of thumb, which it turns out is overkill for KCIA The flight was scheduled to leave at 9:20, and we were there at 7:20. Lots of butt-sitting. I’d already made myself aware of the regulations restricting the amounts of liquids and the types of items you could bring on the plane, so aside from the remove-your-shoes part of the check in routine, there was nothing I would classify as a hassle whatsoever.

The flight itself was pretty awesome. We were on a tiny little plane called an Embraer145, which had two seats on one side of the aisle and one on the other. I got to be on the one-seat side of the aisle, which meant I could gawk out the window to my heart’s content without accidentally elbowing a seatmate in the ear because—ah ha! No seatmate! The last time I’d flown was on an enormous Boeing 777 (I think) so this little plane was a charming novelty. The flight was mercifully short (only about a hour-and-a-half) and uneventful.

I actually really like flying, if the flight is short. The whole flying-overseas thing was pretty significantly crapful when I flew to the UK and subsequently returned, but short flights are pretty cool. Especially when the weather is largely fair and you can see the ground below for most of the flight. I love the bird’s eye view of everything. I like visually following the river or creekbeds, seeing how roads and field are laid out, and trying to guess what towns and cities lie below. It’s also cool to get a top-side view of the clouds. I saw some great cirrus clouds, looking like they’d been lined up with a rake like a Japanese sand court, and some huge, lumpy cumulous clouds. Those guys made me wonder how much water is actually in a cubic foot of cloud. This is an inquiry I intend to pursue.

When we landed, we got off the plane using movable stairs, so we went straight outside. That was a relief as far as I was concerned, as the last part of the flight had been provoking my motion sickness. The air smelled <i>coastal</i>, a little salty and damp. Excellent! In the usual way of doing things, we caught a shuttle from the airport to motel, parked our stuff in our respective rooms, and reconvened for a little walking tour which eventually wound its way to the convention center where we set up our booth. The walking tour gave me ideas of things I intend to re-visit tomorrow with my camera (I’ll have some free time to play with my camera). One thing I especially noticed is that this is one crazy biking town. There were bikes all over the place, some incredibly shitty, some head-turningly nice. Seems to be a big singlespeed/fixie town which makes since because it is so flat. I’ve seen a lot of those colorful powdercoated Deep-V rims in action.

(click on thumbnail for full-size image)

We got our booth set up pretty quickly; the posters all looked great, though we actually brought too much <i>stuff</i> for our space and ended up not being able to fit one of them in! I was initially kind of bummed, because the poster that ended up voted off the island was one I had put a ridiculous lot of work into, but when we tried to cram all three in, along with our other display apparatus, banners, table, and schwag, it looked like somebody was juggling kaleidoscopes, so it was better to restrain ourselves.

Really, everything has gone pretty damn swimmingly, except for one little personal hitch, which wasn’t insurmountable, just frustrating and annoying and a little nerve-wracking.

Our plane tickets were prepaid, but our hotel rooms were not; instead, we were issued checks for the price of the rooms and a <i>per diem</i> for food. Therefore I went down to my checking account and deposited it, figuring I could use my bank card, and maybe keep a little cash on hand. Well, as it turns out, the motel where we’re staying treats debit cards specially, inasmuch as when you use one, it puts a $1000 hold on your account. That sounded pretty bad to me, because if they did that, I couldn’t use my card to buy food. So, I figured I would go to an ATM and withdraw the amount for the room and pay up, so as to keep my bank card usable. Not so fast; the ATM would not let me withdraw that much. So, I ended up withdrawing $100 which I hope will last me for food until Friday (it should, our lunches at the convention center are pre-paid) but I really dislike being so thoroughly tied up in the cashflow department. My bankcard is effectively unusable for the next three days, so I hope to all deities that I have no monetary emergencies! (edited–my bank-card was tied up for most of the following week, as I waited for the transaction to be processed. Next time, traveler’s checks all the way, baby!)

Now, the day is done, and I have made myself some tea (there was a coffee-pot in the room that I used to heat some water) and now I’m going to kick back and read Terry Pratchett’s <u>Feet of Clay</a> and turn in early, because I am stupid tired.

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