Fairly Symmetrical

November 2006 Archives

09:58 PM by Eric: Birthday Update 2006 Personal | Travel

I don't know what to say about my birthday this year, really. It was a pretty good weekend bookended by some of the worst travel I've ever experienced (and I've experienced my share of bad travel). We flew out Thursday morning on Continental, after getting up at 4am to make our flight. Every single time we fly Continental, going all the way back to 1999, I've sworn never to fly them again, and like a total idiot I do.

This time, there was a windstorm in Houston the night before we left, which meant that all the crews worked extra hours, so there were no crews available to fly the next morning. Delays all around. Okay, fine, whatever. But that meant the airlines had to rebook everyone in order to not miss connections all over the place, meaning no kiosk check-in. It was a study in comparative staffing strategies. The Continental desk had 4 ticket agents. Two of them were working the first-class line (length: 5 people, and not growing). Two of them were working the "steerage" line (length: 300 people and growing). The American Airlines desk right next to it had 12 agents--and no line at all.

As an extra insult, we could have driven to Houston, made our original connection, and had none of these problems. (Although, as you'll see, that plan would really not have worked out well later.)

So we get to Louisville, where some Cocoa Trios from Borders finally add something positive to the day. The rest of the weekend was pretty fun; Jen set up her parents' new computer, and I hooked up their new home theater system. Then we played pool. :)

Friday night we went to the L&N Wine Bar, which was pretty good. Their creme brulee is very good, and the drinks looked really tasty. The rest of the weekend we pretty much just hung out, watched TV, played pool, etc. Lots of fun. And I got lots of cool gifts, for which I am very grateful. Jen and I played an inaugural game of the latest edition of Trivial Pursuit already. ;)

Coming home was, if possible, even more annoying than getting there. The flight itself was fine, not late or anything, but it took us an hour to get our bags and the car was dead when we got to the parking lot. Apparently it's a miracle it drove at all before that, because the cable that runs from the battery to the starter had corroded into green powder. I won't belabor the point, but we got home at 3:30 am and I had to go back the next day to get the car towed.

Wednesday we had the car seat checked to be sure it's safely installed, then went shopping at the new outlet mall and the new Ikea store.

Thanksgiving day we spent largely cleaning and cooking; we had dinner by ourselves, then had friends over for drinks/dessert/Beyond Balderdash, which was loads of fun. I ate way too many tasty desserts. :) Today's been more relaxing, finally; I took a nap, did some Xmas shopping, and then Jen and I played Pikmin 2 for a while. And there's still two days left in the weekend, so things are looking up. :) 

11:10 PM by Eric: Her Wish... Personal | Work

...is my command, so I'm posting an update. :-P

I voted today, at an elementary school cleverly hidden in the woods near our house. Not that it mattered a bit, of course; Austin invariably goes heavily Democrat, the rest of the state heavily Republican, and every two years we consider walling them out and they consider walling us in. ;)

About the only votes I actually cared about were the ones funding local parks, central libraries, and theatre, all of which passed (though the theatre vote was closer than I would have thought; maybe Austin's not as arts-friendly as I thought).

Work is taking interesting turns. I've been advocating for a more open discussion of upcoming versions of our software; in the past we've been relatively tight-lipped, but I think our customers would be better served by learning about and discussing some things earlier on. It's a balancing act, of course, but this week I got the go-ahead to post about something I've spent a lot of time working on. It's not completely public, but it is available to any member of our blog site, so while I can't exactly say "go read it", at least our customers are getting a chance to learn about and think about it. I'm looking forward to what they have to say. I kind of envision part of my role being an advocate for third-party developers and system admins, so having dialogue with those people is really helpful for me (and very interesting as well).

We had a very fun baby shower (thrown by our good friends Shannon & Stephen) last Sunday. We stuck with the "favorite childhood book" theme that worked so well in NYC, so we got some very interesting gifts, all of which Ollie will love, I'm sure. I've taken to reading a book (or story) or two each night before bed, out loud so that Jenny, Ollie, and whichever of the animals cares to listen can hear it. I have to practice my dramatic reading skills (including voices ;), after all.

Nothing else of particular interest to report; I'm looking forward to our trip to Louisville for my birthday, we're planning a post-dinner Thanksgiving party that should be great, and Christmas (and Ollie) can't get here soon enough. :)

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