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January 28th, 2013

Back in Training

ntje No wi-fi so writing this off-line. We left Eugene a while ago, both Portland and Eugene, which are supposed to be long stop-overs, were minimal because we were late. Bad decision, people need fresh air. It's one thing which makes the train better than flying.
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It was a too-early morning, I set the alarm & wake-up call for 6, was out of the hotel by 7:30 and at Amtrak by 8:15 despite the long walk all the way around the station because of the construction. I almost stopped at aa coffee shop (there were 4 to choose from) but they were crowded. Too many morning people in SEA.

Long wait in a bare bones waiting room. The signs say they will have this fixed by 2017. Gag me. Boarding began 25 minutes before showtime. I'm in the southbound version of the room I rode up in, but this time it's the opposite direction to the dining car.

Contrary to the ads, they only have wi-fi in one car, the parlor car, and it is iffy. For most of the night it ill be down because we're in a national forest, no relay towers. I should be able to send this off when we reach Klamath Falls. If we're on time that will be about 10 pm.

I wanted to build a picture of a Barbiedle for lemmozine, but need internet to grab the images. Maybe tomorrow.

Lunch was a thrill. There were more empty tables than ones with people, but they sat me with the single dad and his 4-year-old boy. I listened silently as Dad made up stuff about the train when Boy asked him questions. They were mostly wrong answers. Boy had pepperoni pizza, Dad had the burger with chips. I had the chips on the way up and they are not chips at all, but are the baked remnants of fossilized dinosaur scales. Boy was ogling them, unaware of their true nature, and Dad saw that the pizza was larger than Boy. Dad swapped chips for a piece of pizza. The second time Dad offered, Boy declined. Smart kid.

No attempt at conversation was made by either side of the table, though the three little old ladies across the aisle flirted a little with Boy, who was wearing a paper train engineer's hat. Boy could not pronounce his name, so Dad filled it in. It was some Scandinavian name which did not immediately suggest "male" to me. The old ladies purred that it was a nice name. They obviously didn't hear it. Mom must have picked it.

I had the special - penne pasta and meatballs, which is what I had for lunch yesterday. I could barely eat 1/4 of it then, same thing now. The mango sherbet turned out to be raspberry, but that was okay. Waitress spent all her energy on Boy, so no tip from me. Or from Dad either. Or from the little old ladies. Hmmm.

It was cloudy/rainy, dark and dismal the whole trip so far, so I swapped out the telephoto for the fast 35mm VR lens, goosed the ISO to 1600 and didn't take many photos.

At Portland I had a good enough 4G signal to watch some videos of Antje Duvehot, starting with Dandelion, which Two Tonic had sung at the con. She's like Eva Cassidy, but with a reedy voice and still alive. And less ose. I also found a recording johno made at an ancient OVFF of Fantasy Lives sung by a quartet which included the authors. [expletive deleted] photographers got right in front of the camcorder twice and blocked the view with their sagging butts twice. Boo. Hiss. I lost the signal before I could scroll through the 700 covers of it by Tony & Vixy to find another Tom Smith one.

I was in the parlor car at 3-ish when they announced the win & cheese tasting. I am allergic to alcohol, but in the small doses of a tasting I thought I would chance it. I told myself it was "for cheeses". Amen. Seats filled quickly, I was joined by a gentleman about my age, we had quite a long chat about all the world's ills. He is a recovered Republican. We had many similar views. He was amused when I told him "Physics is science, music is art, and economics is fantasy."

The wines:
Duck Pond Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley): Sippable. Major after-bite.
Hogue Genesis Syrah (Columbia River Valley): Red sandpaper
Milbrandt Vineyards cabernet sauvignon (Columbia River Valley): Forgettable, meh
Chateau Ste. Michelle riesling (Columbia River Valley): Kinda yummy. Tasted just like alcoholic golden grape juice.

That shot all the remaining sunlight.

The server completely ignored the cheeses. He set down sample plates with little cubes of 3 cheeses, maybe a dozen cubes. He also completely skipped the pallete cleansing ritual. It was clear he had no idea of what he was doing. By extrapolation we seem to have been given two truly inane cheeses and a fairly good one from Oregon, Rogue River Blue. I'll ask about it at Milk Pail.

I skipped dinner. The food is bad, the service is worse, and I have cashews, mounds and payday bars.

Plans for tomorrow:
We ought to be in San Jose at about 10 am. I'll go home, shower, take drugs, put edibles in the lunch box and go to work. It doesn't look like I am called for Brigadoon till Thursday, but I need to catch up before that. Nobody has posted the promised videos from last Wed-Thurs. :-(

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