Monday, December 01, 2008

Made it to Phoenix

The day started off normal enough. I woke up, took a shower, and got ready for my trip to Phoenix. When the time came, I hopped in the truck and realized I needed gas. After a quick pit stop, headed for Little Rock. Unfortunately, I seemed to forget that this trip was taking place on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

It took me a bit longer than I had planned to get to the airport. People were driving like they had never set their butts behind the wheel of a car. One guy would pass a car, swerve back over into the slow lane right behind another car, pass that car, then repeat. If he hadn't been going about 85, I would have called the police with his plate number...

when i get to the airport, I use the 'easy check-in' kiosk. I print the tickets and they come up with Tim's name. Tim is the guy I am attending the conference with. My name is nowhere to be found. Luckily for me, Tim was already in line and the desk guy got everything worked out.

I get through the x-ray machine and Tim gets stopped. Why? ooops, he forgot to remove his laptop from the bag. That landed him in the hands of TSA. Once that was taken care of, we got to the gate and waited a few minutes to board.

The flight to Houston was a little tight since we were on a small plane, but it wasn't a bad flight.

We land in Houston with more than an hour before the next flight. We deboard, and head for the monorail. WRONG! the monorail is having problems. we have to go to the shuttle service at the other end of the concourse in order to grab a bus to the other concourse. There is a guy on a cart offering a ride, so wee hop on. I am pretty sure he takes the scenic trip around the block. When we get to the shuttle service, the entire area is packed full of people who are trying to catch a shuttle since the mono is out. It is so bad that the shuttles leave before anyone can get on because the people getting OFF take too long to get through the crowd. Hasn't the airport heard of crowd control!?

As we are waiting, an announcement comes on that says the mono is running again. Tim and I debate waiting versus going back based on how long it took to get there by cart. we opt to head for the mono. It takes about a THIRD of the time to get back! when we get to the mono, there is an open train there! As we head for it, an automated voice says, "This car is going out of service." Of course it is.

We finally catch a mono and head for the concourse. We've got about 20 minutes or so before our departure at this point. we figure we can ask the desk when they will board our flight and go grab a quick bite to eat. When we approach the desk, the girl says, "Oh, we're boarding now." So, we are whisked away and put on the plane as one of the last people to board, believe it or not.

The plane is much bigger this time, and has touchscreens in the headrests of the seats in front of us. We decided to poke around and we can play multiplayer games! So, we fire up Battleship. Tim is the first to catch on that we are sitting NEXT to each other... Playing battleship... We can SEE each other's board... He wins. Next, I teach him how to play Reversi. He never played before. He's a quick study. Really. Kicks my butt by more than 35 points. Yeesh. Next, we try Texas Hold'em. He's not sure how to play poker, so i teach him. He starts kicking my butt. At one point, two other passengers join the game, but before they can play a hand, we crash the server. Yes, we crashed the entertainment server on a plane. leave it to me.... Well, the flight attendant dons her tech hat and she reboots. We are such nerds that Tim and I are enthralled at the fact that the system is Linux-based.

The rest of the trip, we played games against the computer rather than risk crashing things again. The really cool thing about the in-plane system is that it does live gps tracking of the plane while you are in it!! Awesome!

The plane lands in Phoenix and we head for baggage claim. While we wait for Tim's bag, someone kicks the emergency stop on the carousel. We have to wait for about 5 minutes for the system to reset. everything is going well... And, then... a babyseat comes up the conveyor and a loose belt catches on the conveyor. The belt gets wedged such that the workers have to stop the carousel again. They eventually have to use a crowbar to pry the protective covering up enough that they can get the belt loose. The conveyor starts up again. The guy who owns the babyseat is pissed off that his seat was damaged in the process. Not much, but enough that one latch was messed up. His seat causes EVERYONE to be late and HE is the one that gets mad? i don't think so.

Naturally, Tim's bag is the last one off the belt.

The rest of the day, we grabbed a car at Avis and headed to the hotel. Once checked in, we drove around and found a place to eat.

When i left Arkansas, it was about 40 degrees or so. In Phoenix, it was about 72 when we landed and around 65 or so while we ate. :-)

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