June 26th, 2005


A week in the US

Nothing particularly exciting about the last week. The flights out (via Paris) were okay. Mostly, I re-read Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan, which is still good. Called Dad from Paris, it being Father's Day, and commented on the cunning design of the terminal: a ring-like corridor with shops on one edge and gates on the other. Any time a flight is boarding, a large crowd blocks the six-foot wide corridor. Well done.

Of the film choices, Constantine was really the only one that looked enjoyable, and I didn't bother with it because the guy in the seat in front had his on maximum recline for the middle five hours - so I couldn't see the screen without contorting myself.

Had a bit of a brain-fade at Boston. I'd been planning to get a taxi to the hotel, but couldn't remember whether last time, I'd gotten a plain ol' taxi, or booked a "limo". I do recall there was a significant difference in price. Sigh. Decided to try taking the T instead. But the signposting was terrible: "This way to the T", it said, pointing at a blank wall on a dead-end. In the event, I got half-way to the hotel by T, for about $3.75 over the course of an hour, and the rest of the way by taxi for another $40.

The week at work was unremarkable. Lots of meetings, lots of faffing around - including pin-boarding with large post-its that gave a rather twisted view of reality. No real change to what we (my group) had planned to do for the next six months. The main gain is that we're also allowed, nay encouraged, to work on stuff that can't be done in a single quarter. So there's actually forward-planning. Shocking.

And, thankfully, the whole lot wasn't thrown out at the end by a senior manager turning up on the last day and saying, "oh, no, we don't want to do that."

Some amusing meals. One at a grill place. As we walked to the table, I looked at us:
- senior manager #1: male, late fifties.
- senior manager #2: female, ditto.
- developer: female, late thirties.
- me.

Hmm, I thought. We look just like a family. Indeed, one of the waitresses wanted to know what our accent was, since she couldn't figure "it" out (three miscellaneous UK regions, plus one European one). And yes, she'd assumed we were all related.

Plus a Legal Seafoods. Normally very nice, but they misheard me, and I unexpectedly got a burger. Sigh. Was nice enough, but not what I was after.

And a drive around town trying to find (a) a parking space, and (b) a place that had vegetarian options (this request flummoxed the staff at a Steak House).

And a fancy restaurant where one of our hosts ordered a steak and broke the Miss Piggy rule of menu selection: never eat more than you can lift.

The trip back started okay-ish. I had a taxi arranged all the way to the airport, and the driver insisted on being my friend all the way. Just would not shut up. Nice enough, but I was tired. Still, he got me there with plenty of time.

Managed to speak to katlinel - despite the cell-phone playing up - which was the first time the timing had co-incided since Paris. Then bought a Clancy novel for the flight back, in case the Pratchett ran out. The bar in the terminal had hardly any seats and they wouldn't let me use of the tables outside it ("they're for food, honey"), but I got a seat after a while. Started a book that siggav had given me, but my mind kept wandering. By the time the flight was called - rather late - I'd decided it wasn't for me. Might have been the translation; Lord knows there's a big difference between the readibility of the two Dumas novels I've read.

So on the plane, I read the Prachett. And ignored the guy sitting next to me, who appeared to want to make a friend. Kept throwing lots of "how about that, huh?" expressions my way, while I kept my eyes on the page. Piss off, I thought. I'm a shy, introverted Englishman, I'm exhausted, and I really don't want a conversation.

Also watched Patriot Games. Seen it numerous times before. Ocean's Twelve was an option, but I've never seen that, so I'd rather see it on a proper screen.

Realised, towards the end of the flight, that I was due in at Paris at 06:20, and due to leave at 07:20, from a different terminal. Boarding was due to start at 06:50. Hmm, I thought, as we landed, that's kinda tight. Indeed, the disembarcation took ages, and I got off the plane, and onto a bus, at 06:50. A bizarre bus, too. It was on stilts. After lowering itself to the ground, it trundled around the airport for a bit, then raised up again to deliver us to the terminal. What's wrong with steps?

Run to the cross-terminal bus, and trundle all the way around the airport in the wrong direction. As I get to the terminal, the noticeboards are listing the flight as being from gate 41. Rush up to the gate, after a couple of bad calls (again, no direction signs), only to get there at 07:27, and now it's showing a different flight. Too late. Back down to the transfer desk (Again, no signs), and get only another flight that doesn't leave for about 8.5 hours. Joy.

So I spent a lot of time in the terminal, finishing the Pratchett, dozing a little, listening to Common Rotation on my palm, and being disgusted with the terminal design. Again. There were only two crappy food places, where the best food options were a slice of manky pizza or a pre-wrapped baguette, and both of them were wall-to-wall with smokers.

The flight got delayed. Joy. When I did get on it, I got a window seat (I prefer aisle), on a tiny plane with barely enough headroom, and not enough space in the overhead locker for my laptop. Typical. And the Clancy I'd bought began with the hi-jacking of a transatlantic flight to the UK...

Very, very glad to be home.
  • Current Music
    Common Rotation. Still