Just got back

April 28th, 2016

I’ve been on vacation for three weeks, and just got back yesterday. We were on a G Adventures tour – Highlights of New Zealand. Travel there and back was an absolute nightmare. Our trip there involved two flights – Denver to Los Angeles, then Los Angeles to Auckland. Our flight from Denver was delayed for over an hour prior to takeoff because President Obama was making campaign appearances in Los Angeles, so they put a “ground hold” on that airport, meaning that incoming flights (ours among others) were not allowed to take off.

That caused us to miss our connection to Auckland – there are only two flights per day on that route (both overnight), and we’d had seats on the second one. We ran (almost) from Terminal 7 (United) to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (we got there faster than the shuttle bus would have taken us), but the line for security was several hundred feet long (it snaked several times upstairs, then went the entire length of the terminal downstairs), and the Air New Zealand counter was already closed. Fortunately, we managed to find some ANZ people who were still available and who issued us some paperwork and sent us back to United (back to Terminal 7). United took the position that it wasn’t their fault we missed our flight connection, therefore we weren’t entitled to any compensation. At least they arranged for us to get on the next day’s flight. Some of the other people who missed the same connection didn’t get all the paperwork done by United, so when they showed up at the Air New Zealand counter the next day, they had to go all the way back to Terminal 7 again.

The hotel we ended up in overnight wasn’t bad – the rooms were nice enough, but the hallways had a distinct feel of decrepit sanitarium to them. The hotel restaurant was closed, and there were no restaurants in walking distance – well, there was one across the road and about a block down, sort of, but it involved walking more than a mile and a half to get there, and the only restaurant that delivered said they had a 1-hour-plus delivery time. As it was well past midnight by then, we decided to get some snacks from the vending machine and call it good.

For the return trip, there were three flights – Christchurch to Auckland, Auckland to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Denver. Our original flight out of Christchurch was scheduled for 7pm, but we were bumped to an earlier flight, which then was delayed. It eventually took off just before 7pm. The transpacific flight wasn’t really a problem, but we’d been awake about 15 hours by the time it took off, and only managed a couple of hours sleep each on the 12+ hour flight. We had a two-hour layover in Los Angeles before our flight to Denver, and that would have been barely enough if the last flight hadn’t been delayed. It took us over an hour to get through customs and immigration, and then we had to walk from the Tom Bradley International Terminal to Terminal 7 (United) and go through security screening again. There’s a shuttle bus, but walking beat it again. Apparently, they are planning a way to let you stay within the security-cleared area while moving between terminals, but they don’t have anything like that yet. We got to the security screening, and they sent us back to replace our boarding passes, because United can’t read the barcodes generated by Air New Zealand, or something like that. Then, Marion had an extended and frustrating experience finally going through security. If the last flight hadn’t been delayed, I’m not sure we’d have made it back to Denver last night.

In between, though, it was a very nice trip. New Zealand is a beautiful country. There’s always a bit of “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium” flavor to a G Adventures tour, and it seemed a little more evident on this tour. Still, we had a lot of fun, and I wouldn’t mind going back at all. I’ll have more to say (and photos) later.

For some reason, I found this to be hilarious

April 2nd, 2016

So …

March 25th, 2016

We had a significant snowstorm earlier this week. My boss texted early Wednesday morning to let everyone know that she was closing the business for the day. Good thing. According to the traffic overlay on my iPad’s map app, the roads were not moving well most of the day. The city of Denver actually put the chain law into effect, which is something that seldom happens. It usually happens several times a year for the mountains – there’s a stretch of I-70 near work that’s a pull-off area for trucks to put chains on – but I’ve only seen snow heavy enough for Denver to require it a few times in the last 30 years. I-70 was closed all the way to the Kansas border, and I’m sure Kansas shut down some of the highway in their state.

Roads weren’t bad on Thursday – one of my coworkers reported the major road by his apartment was icy, but I only ran into trouble on the on-ramp from the major road near me to the highway. Today was no trouble, but we’re supposed to be getting more snow tonight into tomorrow. Probably go up to Frisco Sunday for some cross-country skiing.

We’ve been developing a new computer board at work – based on a Cortex M-3 processor. We got the first boards back from the assembler on Monday, and have been testing them all week. As is usual when bringing up a new board from scratch, not everything is working, but enough is working that we’re not too unhappy. Unfortunately, one thing that’s not yet working is affecting our ability to test some other parts of the system. Just the way things go, sometimes. Once we’re past this problem, odds are good that everything else will fall into place.

Happy First Day of Spring

March 20th, 2016

Busy weekend

March 6th, 2016

My daughter came by yesterday to go through my LPs and grab what she wanted before I got rid of them all. She disappeared with most of my comedy LPs, some folk, some ballroom dance, and a few just for the cover art. She also left with a few books (two that I gave her, and two that she borrowed), and a couple of Ethernet cables.

Marion and I went cross-country skiing at the Frisco Nordic Center today. First loop was on Crown Point, then after eating a lunch-time snack, we did a loop of the front half of the Frisco Bay trail. They had signs posted along the trails warning that moose had been seen in the area, and to avoid them. We didn’t see any moose, not that I expected to. We did, however, see a snowshoe hare, which is the first wildlife other than birds and squirrels that I’ve seen while skiing at that area. I saw a fox a few years ago while skiing at the Steamboat Nordic Center. Just don’t see much wildlife while skiing.

I’d planned on getting a haircut and doing laundry this weekend, but it just didn’t work out. No big deal, though. The longer hair helped keep my ears warm while skiing, and the laundry can be put off for a few more days – it’s not as though I’m about to run out of clean clothing.

They never did this when I was his age

February 24th, 2016

A 16-year-old Russian boy has won a contest. His prize is a month in a hotel with a porn star. She looks quite nice, but he doesn’t look 16 to me.

I’m reminded of the young man whose mother sent a stripper to wish him a happy birthday while he was in class.

It seemed absolutely crazy

February 16th, 2016

I found this to be an absolutely fascinating article. I am tremendously impressed with Jill Viles. She is a poster child for taking control of your medical care, which is something I should do more of.

It seemed absolutely crazy. The idea that an Iowa housewife, equipped with the cutting-edge medical tool known as Google Images, would make a medical discovery about a pro athlete who sees doctors and athletic trainers as part of her job?

I believe that my sisters were once contacted about a medical study concerning a condition that may run in our family. Jill, in contrast, found an active study about her condition and got them to include her family. She got care for her father that likely extended his life by eighteen years, and did the same for an Olympic athlete. That’s impressive.

Definitely someone more people should know about.

Meh.

February 9th, 2016

I set up a doctor’s appointment for today, because I’ve had some symptoms that match with deep-vein thrombosis. The doctor didn’t think so. She thought it was most likely to be sciatica, but set up an ultrasound exam for me just in case.

Apparently, it’s both. I go back later today to discuss treatment options.

The Day the Music Died

February 4th, 2016

On this day in history, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in a plane crash. Waylon Jennings was supposed to be on the flight, but had allowed Richardson to take his place.

Yid With A Lid has a good post on the topic.

Update: That’s what I get for not doing this post earlier – it’s 11pm here, but 12am according to the post time. I’ll have to look into the WordPress settings and see if that’s where time zone is kept.

Oh, no, John Ringo!

February 3rd, 2016

oh no john ringo