Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

A good kind of boring

Writing this from the Vagabond Inn in Ventura. It's a long train ride followed by a short train ride. Upgrading to the small room was a good idea, but not as good as I expected because we were on time or within 10 minutes of it all the way, which meant there was not enough time to have free dinner (lamb shanks) because we arrived in Santa Barbara before the first serving was done.

The train arrived on time at San Jose, but we sat there for almost 20 minutes past the scheduled departure time with no word on why. Amtrak has not learned, after all these years of delays, that the passengers need to know what's going on. Worse than an airline. So as we are pulling out, they apologize for the delay, there was a "medical emergency".

The only other delays were from being early, having to wait a few minutes for a train to pass or get out of the station. Amtrak won't schedule a two-destination train trip if the second train is due to leave less that 2 hours before the first one is due to arrive. That's a telling example of how poor they have been at meeting their schedules. But I checked the train status for my trains, and was satisfied that an hour was enough cushion. And this time is was.

My connection in Santa Barbara was a minute late. BFD. It was chilly and blustery in SBA, so I waited inside for most of the hour.

The lunch meal I usually dread because they seat me facing backwards (makes me carsick) and force me to chat with three other table-mates. But this time I was able to get a seat facing the right way, and only two people were seated at the table. They were across from me, and except for saying hello, they just ignored me and continued the conversation they had been having in their room.

The scenery was more photographable than usual, it was sunny and for the first 3/4 of the trip the sun was on the other side. When I wanted to, I could slide across the aisle, something I did when I started to get sunburned, and when we were going through Vandenberg AFB, where the old NASA hangar is now branded SpaceX.

Also, there were a lot of workers harvesting in the fields.

when we got to the ocean, there was some good photo ops - it was windy, but the wind was blowing out to sea, so the whitecaps looked like little jet skis. And there were some nice waves crashing against rocks photos.

While waiting for the second train, a recruiter called with what sounded like a great job for me. The company she named, VOS, is not one I have heard of, and when I told her I am not an automation engineer or programmer she said loudly this was not that kind of job. I told her to send me email and I'd reply when I got to the hotel in 2 hours. She called in an hour anyway, I sent it to voicemail.

The Pacific Surfliner from SBA to Ventura is a speedster, very modern car similar to the Caltrain bullet cars. Very comfortable and as a Senior I get to sit downstairs, not haul my heavy packs (I had 2) upstairs for a 2-stop ride.

It arrived on time, left in 3 minutes, and got to Ventura on time.

And then things got difficult. I packed way too much, and the hotel was much farther away than I remembered. And I am more out of shape than I was then, if that's possible.

The temp had dropped, the wind was 15 mph with stronger gusts, and I had to rest often. In my memory it was 5 blocks. IRL, Goggle maps says 8. It felt like 10.

No problem checking in, the receptionist was on the phone giving the WiFi password to someone, so I got that right off. The nearest ice machine is broken, and the one working is across the courtyard, no biggie.

My dinosaur pack is mostly filled with snacks, including two small diet Cokes (I drank the other two on the train - Amtrak only does Pepsi). It has not been a good day for me for ice. when I got on board the sleeper car, they didn't have ice in the container under the water dispenser. I had to walk through three cars and half the dining car to get a cup.

The hotel has a fridge, so the snacks are in there with the insulin. All my shirts are hung up along with my long jeans. I expect to wear cutoffs most of the week. I packed too many T-shirts, those are in the drawer. Glad I bought the power strip, everything is plugged in now.

It was too cold and I was tired from the walk so I had some snacks for dinner. Cheese sticks, slim jims, ho-hos, mini apple strudels. I have mint fudge cookies, mint oreos, chocolate donettes as well for the rest of the week.

But Ventura has some decent eats, so I'll be having real meals mostly.

Looked at the recruiter's email, it was definitely a programmer position, with Harmonic, a good company I know well, which already has my resume. I emailed her back showing the lines she ignored which said they wanted an experienced programmer. And no thanks.

Got a call from Automation Guy. He's doing well at his new job, but disappointed that their level of automation is nowhere near what he built for the ex-company.

Email from ex-boss letting us know the monks will be blessing his new house at 11 am May 6, but we can show up at 1 if we just want to eat & mingle. I will try to make it to the monks' thing.

Plans for tomorrow:
Free breakfast
Beach time
Maybe buy a portable beach chair.  

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