Archive for April, 2009

Friends & Food in ‘Nooga

April 29, 2009

Tuesday, 28 April 2009.  Up way too early as I had a long way to go.  It was cool with clear skies Pinehurst, North Carolina.  Last night I did have some pizza followed by solitaire and reading a book that was on my computer.

 

I specifically took non-interstates were I could.  However, this meant I had to put up with even in worse drivers than usual.  Many seemed to feel that driving 35 in a 55 or 65 zone was justified as they had paid their taxes and could do whatever they wanted.

 

I did run into a couple of jammed up interstates specifically want around Charlotte.  They definitely need extra lanes for the roads surrounding the city.

 

The drive itself was actually quite pretty.  There were a number of spots where the road had obviously been laid out by a drunken snake with hiccups.  While part of the routing meant I was following slow trucks and even slower cars and there were plenty of road sections were I could really push my car through the curves.  It was a lot of fun.  There were also a couple of scenic overlooks which were breathtaking.  Slow though it may have been I’m glad I took the road.

 

I got in fairly early to Chattanooga, found my motel and then headed over to the restaurant.  I was happy to note that this Motel 6 not only had Wi-Fi, but it was free and actually worked.

 

I was meeting, Merry and Tom Wall and Uncle Timmy and She Who Must Be Obeyed.  We were returning to Provino’s Italian restaurant.  We ate here last year and decided it was worth coming back to.  After about 3 1/2 hours later of good food, good conversation and pleasant surroundings, we called it an evening.

 

I returned to the room and played around on the computer for a while.  I did some e-mail, played some solitaire and read.

Heading South To Go North

April 29, 2009

Monday, 27 April 2009.  In good night’s sleep was not to be had.  Even though the motel was a crowded I ended up in a new room which was occupied.  The walking and squeaking overhead until midnight wasn’t too bad as I was still up and it seemed to stop about the time I turned out the light.  However, it was quite annoying to hear pacing, and the feet were heavy, as well as a squeaking of the floor.  The manager was very nearly got a phone call at five o’clock from a rather tired and irate wombat.  Thank goodness for earplugs.  They were also useful against the chirping of bloody birds at five and six o’clock in the morning.  As I was dropping off my key, I had a few words for the front desk.

 

The morning turned out to be a minor hassle.  Almost as disaster but not quite.  I managed to leave the book I was reading in the motel.  To get it shipped to me via UPS would have been a real pain in the neck.  I contacted the time was the hopes that someone would pick up the book and mail it to my home as trying to catch me on the road would be impossible.

 

While this was vaguely of upsetting me, I misread the instructions for getting around Raleigh.  This resulted in my driving through the center of Raleigh in order to get back to the road I wanted.  I was soon back on the proper road and headed south to this town of Whispering Pines.  My friend Ann lives there. 

 

I had no problem finding her house.  She gave me the $.25 tour of her house with all the SF paintings and pictures along with figures from a variety of science-fiction and fantasy books and movies.  It was quite impressive.  We have then joined a couple of her friends for lunch at an English pub which is quite good followed by a tour of the area.  It was pointed out that there were something like eight or nine 18-hole golf courses in the immediate area.  It was definitely a place to live if you liked golf.  After the tour Ann and I sat on her back porch and had a lovely chat.  We were the center of amusement for one of her two cats.

 

Around four she had to go and pick up some friends who are coming to visit and had gotten somewhat lost.  She got me back to the main highway so I could find the motel and we waved goodbye to each other.

 

As I checked into the Motel 6 here in Pinehurst, I learned, Wi-Fi was not working at the motel.  So this will not get uploaded it to my blog for a day or two.  At least I have recorded and written it down.  You must update my budget information as I would like to keep track of how much this trip will cost.

 

This will be a quiet and early evening as I will be a quite early tomorrow morning for the long drive to Chattanooga.  There is a Pizza Hut right next door, and it is time to have some pizza.  It has been a while since I’ve had some.  Maybe KFC tomorrow for lunch.  🙂

RAVENCON – Day 3

April 29, 2009

Sunday, 26 April 2009.  I awoke again to sun and warmth, well the warmth was outside I was air-conditioning the room, at nine and decided to check my schedule as I knew I had something in the morning.  I did, it has started 15 minutes earlier.  I rushed out of my room and went to my panel on alternate fuels.  What made it worse was that I was technically the moderator.  Amazingly, the seats around the boardroom table were all filled.  There were too many insane people up at nine o’clock in the morning on a Sunday at a convention.  And I was one of them.  It was quite a good panel and we covered a multitude of alternate energy sources.

 

After the panel I headed to the green room for some nourishment and a cup of coffee, chatted awhile and then headed back to the room to finish packing and throw all the stuff into the car.

 

About one I did my final panel and spent much of the rest of the afternoon chatting with the con survivors who were staying around after the final few panels.

 

About 20 of us headed over to TGIF Friday for a post con dinner and party.  One of the lovely ladies on the committee had baked a humongous chocolate cake.  Calling it a chocolate cake does not begin to describe it.  It was marvelous.  It was a fine ending to a disaster for me of a dinner.  By the time I got my hamburger most everyone else had finished.  I was not a happy wombat and let the people know about it.  It was not as if the place was very busy.  Basically they screwed up royally.  They did decide that may be it might be a good thing to not charge me for my dinner.

 

After dinner I headed over to the Super 8, did some e-mail and relaxed before trying to get a night of sleep.

RAVENCON – Day 2

April 29, 2009

Saturday, 25 April 2009.  I had a fairly decent night’s sleep and got up actually a little bit late.  The sun was shining and the temperature was hitting to about 90°.  I headed over to the green room where I got some coffee and some munchies enough to keep me going for the day.

 

I didn’t have any panels on tap so I hung out in the dealers room and art show and chatted with all and sundry.  I did spend a nice hour or so with Bud Webster talking about science fiction in his books and life in the universe.  Neither of us were sure there was intelligent life in the universe but we hoped so.

 

I did bravely go forth into the heat and dig out my formal wear at a couple other items from the car.  It was getting rather toasty outside and especially in the car.

 

While in the green room grabbing a snack which would be my dinner prior to the masquerade one of the folk helping out in the green room felt he was somewhat of a computer person.  I therefore challenged him to help me access my e-mail.  After about 30 minutes or so ago we did at one time actually access the e-mail he gave up and decided that it was beyond him on what was happening in or to my computer so as to make accessing my Gmail account possible.  Once more my computer problems have defeated so-called computer experts.  I wonder how long this will go on. J 

 

After doing some e-mail, I can sort of access Gmail, and playing solitaire I tarted myself up for the masquerade in top hat and tails and headed over to the green room to meet up with the contestants and check over any last-minute details.

 

While small there were some very nice costumes in the masquerade.  As usual I encouraged many as possible in the audience to get up on stage next year.  It is a lot of fun.

 

Later that evening I helped out with a charity auction.  Auctioning, as I have said many times in the past, is great fun and theater.

 

After a couple hours of auctioning a couple friends pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to join them at a club in downtown Richmond to which they were going.  I said it sounded interesting was there any special reason.  They thought I might find the club, which is called The Fallout, to be interesting and they felt I might enjoy the experience.  We ended up spending about three hours there are and it was an interesting experience and I found the outfits that many of the people in the bar were wearing were delightfully interesting.

 

I got back to the hotel sometime after three and finally turned out the light at four.  Whether I needed it or not, I figured five hours sleep would be enough.

RAVENCON – Day 1

April 25, 2009

     Friday, 24 April 2009.  After my usual for nights sleep.  I got up ready to face the world.  It was a beautiful sunny day in Richmond.  While it was still cool in the morning, the temp was going up to about 75°.  I can live with that.

     I’m hoping the continual application of hand or body lotion to the bottom of my left foot will ease the dryness and cracking.  It is a literal pain in the foot.  My shoulders are okay, so I still have some pain in the right shoulder.  Now to try and see if I can connect up with the Internet. 

     This Crown Plaza is somewhat civilized.  Internet connection is free and seems to work.  As I had some time to kill until I could actually go and have breakfast I worked on my e-mail and did my shoulder exercises.

     While the birth the list was fairly good I was disappointed in the fact that they had no half-and-half to go with coffee which I then skipped.  Thank goodness for caffeine pills.

     The first part of the day was pretty lazy.  I got some stuff out of the car sorted out what I wanted to do got registered at the convention and chatted with the attendees who had already shown up.

     One person I was happy to meet was Amy Sturgis, who I have heard of in relation to Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings.  We had a nice talk about the books and some of the history and I hope to sit down and chat with her later during the convention.

     I was on three panels and attended a couple others.  After my last panel I hit some of the parties and finally called it a night near midnight which after all was fairly early but I was tired.

On the Road again

April 24, 2009

Thursday, 23 April 2009 up at six o’clock and finished putting stuff in the car. I had my last cup of coffee here at home. I am beginning to shut down the house and looking forward to getting on the road within the next 30 minutes.

After about two hours of puttering about one, loading the car, and having 3 cups of coffee so that I finished off the half-and-half, I turned off the house, double checked everything and headed out.

Today was cool is about 50°/10°C under partly cloudy skies. While it had been spring, according to the calendar for a month, there was very little new green on the trees around Albany.

To start this trip little differently, I followed him the Google directions and turned south on New Karner Road to US20 and followed it to I-88. The drive down I-88 was quite easy, with little or no traffic. However. I did run into some light showers. This was the case for the first several hours of the drive. I picked up. I-81 in Binghamton, and headed down the road to Virginia.

I continue to drive on under, cloudy skies with the occasional sprinkle until I got to the far side of the mountains around Lebanon, PA. Traffic increased, as I approached Harrisburg and continue to be relatively heavy until I turned off of I-81, and on to I-66. Looking forward to driving Route 66 later on in the trip.

After Lebanon, the skies continued to clear up until by the time I reached Fredericksburg. There was hardly a cloud in the sky. The temperatures had also warmed up, until it was almost spring.

After a short drive on I-66 I turned on to 17 and carried on to Fredericksburg. I was looking forward to good conversation and excellent dinner with Don and Peggy Lundry. Some Pepsi and a couple of Swiss cheese sandwiches were my meals on the way down.

While the temperatures were very nice and about 70° in Fredericksburg, it seem that spring was a little late in arriving. Yes, there were screened on the trees and bushes, but not as much as I remember in previous years on my drives down to Richmond.

After a delightful evening with Don and Peggy, I headed south on 95 to Richmond. Even though it was 11 p.m. traffic was fairly heavy. I was able to find my hotel without any problems and calls it a night around 1 a.m.

It was a good start to the trip.

A few films I very much enjoyed.

April 22, 2009

Watched a few films lately.  I watched Aliens & Monsters in the cinema.  It was as good as advertised.  A fun film.  It brought to mind a bunch of very old films.  At home I watched Speed Racer.  The guy drives as I do. J  It is a fun film.  I definitely enjoyed it.  I just watched Wall-E.  That was a very enjoyable film.    By the way a short while ago I watched Sydney White.  It is a delightful retelling of the “Snow White & the 7 Dwarves” story.  They play it straight, & the film works. 

Zero days & a wakeup!

April 22, 2009

22 April!  Finishing up arrangements for the trip.  I’m really excited about heading north to Alaska.  It is the only state I haven’t been to.    Packing is almost done.  I plan to begin loading the car later this afternoon.    Now to shift files from my desktop to my laptop.

How to solve over population.

April 11, 2009

If some enterprising soul would develop a “pill” which would control the sex of the child, overpopulation would be a thing of the past in about 20 to 40 years.    The experience  in China typifies the fact that an overwhelming proportion of families around the world would choose to have a male child.  Now granted this might start a bunch of small [?] wars where males go to kidnap women, but that is a minor consideration.    In 20+ years there would be very few women of childbearing age or potential in the world.  Hence, the population of the world would plummet without having to resort to drastic measures.  After all it is the number of women which controls the number of births: 1 woman plus 9 males = 1 child; 9 women plus 1 male = 9 children.

Go Hijackers!

April 11, 2009

“Most ship owners still reluctant to arm crews.  Owners of ships plying the waters off Somalia have balked at having firearms onboard, despite more attacks where bullets pierced hulls or rocket propelled grenades whooshed overhead.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30141951/from/ET/ “ 

As long as this attitude applies, I see no reason for the hijackers to stop.  Hey, they need money to eat as well as the ship owners.