January 25th, 2012



Was up this morning at the usual time for a 9 am work day, but did not want to be at the airport before 10. So I played around with the wi-fi repeater a bit, to see if i could figure out why it was not logging any traffic. Still don't know. My guess is the devices near it get enough of a signal from the router to not even look for another source.

At the park and ride at 10, nobody was around. In 5 minutes we magically had a full van. The last time I flew Alaska, they were in terminal C and you had to walk out onto the tarmac and climb the stairs to the plane. Now they are in terminal B, and it's a modern skyway. They have 1/3 of the terminal, the other 2/3, which also has most of the concessions, is Southwest. Southwest had taken over most of terminal A from American before the airport remodel.

"security" was a breeze, except the new terminal was designed as if it was an afterthought. Or maybe not. I think they envisioned having all 6 scanners going at once, because the lead-up to the scanner is only deep enough for two people's gear. They only had two open when I got there. First class is supposed to have a dedicated line, but it just dumps into the other lines.

Had time to take a leisurely walk the whole length of the terminal, decided to eat brunch at the one across from my gate, Ruby Tuesday. Not much of a menu selection, I had shrimp in pasta. It was pretty good, but they over-spiced the shrimp.

Went back to the gate, and saw it was now set up for Portland. They had moved Seattle's gate over one. The announcement came as I was looking at the board for the new gate number.

We boarded about 5 minutes late, got off the ground on time. I think one of the flight attendants was a maintenance worker gone undercover. He did not have the uniform, did not quite know the hand jive, and the other FAs kept correcting him.

The weather was mostly clear, there was a good view of Mt. Shasta, and the clouds over Oregon parted enough to get a good look at Crater Lake. Then it became completely overcast until we got to Tacoma (by then we had descended to about 5,000 feet). There was some snow left over from last week down in southern Pierce County, but none that I could see in S. Seattle. Instead of landing from the south, we flew over Vashon Island and Puget Sound, making a U-turn at Lavish Harbor Island, and landed from the north. It was a slightly bumpy landing, and the pilot had a hard time keeping the plane horizontal. Nervous-making, but not scary.

Got to Avis, looked at the board to see what slot my car was in, and they had once again "upgraded" me to a red Mustang. They did this to me last time. They don't have a way online to tell them not to upgrade. To me that's not an upgrade, nor is a bigger car than I am used to driving. I've skipped my midlife crisis thankyouverymuch.  Of course there was a Japanese tourist in line ahead of me who kept changing his mind about what option he wanted. When I finally did get to the window the nice lady took care of everything quickly, put me in a Ford Focus.

It's a bit much, too, but only because it has a sun roof, and Microsoft's voice-controlled central-everything system. All the controls are routed through the display panel, even the fan. I plugged in the GPS I'd brought from home, and after it figured out I was no longer in CA, it let me program in the naval museum for tomorrow.

Drove across the street to the con hotel, checked in, they handled the pair of reservations in way that will be transparent to me.

Am all unpacked,  Wifi comes with the room. I'm up fairly high, with a view towards the light rail airport station and a couple of parking lots. Facing south, so no sunrise-sunset, though from the looks of things we're having typical gray weather anyway.

A side note. I wore my Seahawks stadium jacket. I'll be indoors most of the time, but I was thinking about tomorrow, when I'll be out on the Olympic Peninsula where it's a bit colder. But maybe it was overkill. This jacket is probably rated warm enough to survive overnight in an avalanche.  It's pretty, though.

Plans for tonight - dinner a few blocks down the road at Dave's. Google says it's a mile. I could walk, but it's a cold walk back.

There will be time during the con to go to 13 Coins. I have a nostalgia for that place. When I was in high school, older friends of my sister invited me to tag along with them at some very late hour (it is open 24 hours). I remember it as elegant. It's one of those places which is so discretely marked that people don't spot it from the street. You have to know it's there. We had antipasto - I didn't even know what the word meant back then till one of the older boys told me. 

Obama's Speech

I didn't listen to it. I know most people disagree with me, but I cannot stand his speaking style. It sounds like he has trouble reading. He pauses in awkward places, and far too often. I'd rather read a transcript.

But I probably won't do that, either, because there is not much he can say which can make up for three years of too little, too late, if at all.

I also won't be listening to the GOP response, because it is sure to go way beyond the level of criticism which Obama deserves, and probably won't be based on facts.

I wish some Democrats had the courage to run against him. We can do better.