Friday, January 09, 2015

Airport Liveblogging: 2015 Edition

Friday, 1/09/15, 14:30 pacific: Well, you know things aren't going well when you feel the need to liveblog from the airport.

Well, Supershuttle picked me up from my "home" in Palo Alto before the beginning of their 15 minute window (which started at 1pm). They had previously mistakenly called me a full 15 minutes before the start of the window to express annoyance that I wasn't outside, and it turns out that they meant to call somebody else.

Once I was picked up only a couple of minutes before the beginning of the window, things went smoothly on the way to SFO airport and I arrived. There was no line, which is good. Unfortunately, my 3:50 pm flight to Phoenix, from which I would head to San Antonio, was cancelled and the earliest flight I could be put on was a 12:30 am one that goes through Dallas (which is my favorite airport). I tried to do something about this, but unfortunately I was shit out of luck. I am slated to arrive in Dallas at 5:39 am and then to leave there at 9:00 am. That makes about 14 hours of airport time for me today and tomorrow, in case you're counting. I'll now miss some talks from the first day of the Joint Math Meetings that I wanted to see (especially Carl Dettmann's talk at 8am). Given that I now have an all-nighter in store, I will be in no shape for any talks tomorrow, so I think I will punt all of the talks tomorrow, except possibly for Dan Spielman's plenary at 8:30 pm (if I can stay awake that long). Maybe I'll go through the exhibition room a bit and see if I can find people I know and pick up my Project NExT dot.

Now, the 12:30 am flight is from American Airlines, and I was going to be on US Airways. I thus dragged my (overweight) luggage from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 (which wasn't so bad, to be honest). Also, there seems to also be some issue with my outbound flight on the 14th. (Times changed, and the airlines booked me on two different flights. Like with today's flight, they had not informed me of any change by e-mail. I was booked on two different flights for the same leg of the journey. I think I have now dealt with this, based on my interactions with AA customer service.) By the way, one of the people at AA customer service was an obnoxious bitch. She scoffed at my notion of the airlines informing me by e-mail with the following comment (which was stated with utter derision and was dripping with sarcasm): "What, do you expect to be able to read your e-mail on the way to work?" Why, yes, yes I do. It's 2015, for fuck's sake. This bitch was surprised by the notion that people read e-mail all the fucking time. No, both US Airways and AA need a phone number to be able to contact me if something changes on the same day because apparently it is beyond their capabilities to send automatic e-mails for such things.

I got through security without a problem. While getting coffee at Peet's, I saw somebody waiting for a flight who looked like one of my friends. I suspect it was not her, and in any event I wasn't sure and I had enough doubt that I really didn't want to be going up to a total stranger whose flight was about to board to say 'hello'. At some point, I'll ping my friend to find out whether it was her, and presumably she'll confirm that it wasn't. (Or alternatively I'll be wrong that it wasn't her and will feel stupid for missing my chance to say 'hi'.)

So now I have my iced latte, and I guess I'll be getting much more work done today than I thought I would. And tomorrow I will be in no shape to do anything. (I am currently near Peet's next to gates 54B and 55.)

So, if you happen to be going through Terminal 1 at SFO airport today, stop by so we can hang out. I'm having a party!

Friday, 1/09/15, 14:53 pacific: PARTY IN TERMINAL 1!!!

Friday, 1/09/15, 16:07 pacific: Did I say "Terminal 1"? Oops, that was an error on my part. I did in fact start my internship here in Terminal 1, but then I walked over to Terminal 2. So... PARTY IN TERMINAL 2!!!.

Also, I unfortunately packed my camera in my check-in luggage. Terminal 2 has some cool "wormhole" sculpture-like objects that I have been meaning to photograph during my last couple of times here. Unfortunately, in those cases, I either didn't have time or had other things I wanted to do or was in a rush to get home. Now I don't have my camera handy, and I think I might get some very strange looks if I do a selfie with my laptop to snap the photograph.

Friday, 1/09/15, 17:35 pacific: Well, I have certainly gotten a lot farther on the second round of page proofs for this paper than I was anticipating today. I'll still need to iterate with my coauthors (especially the first author), but it looks like I will be able to get through my pass and circulate things to them. It was probably going to be very hard for me to get very far on this while at the JMM, so at least my current escapade should accelerate our sending this round of corrections to the journal. I am running out of steam right now, so I should probably get some dinner soon.

Friday, 1/09/15, 17:46 pacific: From the PA system a couple of minutes ago, some guy was paged with the message "Your friends are totally leaving without you if you don't get there soon."

Friday, 1/09/15, 17:49 pacific: Well, my 12:30 am flight appears to be on time at the moment. (I have no confidence in these people anymore.)

Friday, 1/09/15, 18:31 pacific: I finally tried the Japanese sushi and noodle place in this terminal. The person behind the counter was very nice. I got some beef udon soup. During my meal, I realized that I needed to call my hotel to let them know that I was arriving tomorrow instead of today because of my ordeal. I didn't want to lose my room. They are overbooked, so it's a good thing that I did this. In order to check in when I arrive instead of waiting another 5 hours before I can get a room (check-in is normally at 4pm), I may end up in the hotel around the corner. (The hotels are connected to each other and are owned by the same company.)

Friday, 1/09/15, 20:04 pacific: Well, I got through my page proofs and sent them to the lead author so that we can iterate. I thought I would have to work on this a bunch while at the JMM, but the extra time in airports has accelerated the process. Granted, once I hear back from him, I will be going over them again.

Friday, 1/09/15, 20:41 pacific: I just got some Pinkberry frozen yogurt. The flavor is white chocolate raspberry, which is better than the yogurt I have had from them before. (I tried it once or twice over the years but didn't like it.) The person behind the counter asked if I wanted a cover in case I didn't have time to finish it. Oh, I have time. Believe me.

Friday, 1/09/15, 20:55 pacific: Well, I've managed to get a few brain freezes from the frozen yogurt.

Friday, 1/09/15, 21:46 pacific: I sent some comments on trying to clarify the final points of a paper draft back to my collaborators. Being stuck at the airport is causing me to be superproductive. I suppose that means I'll be able to focus more on the JMM once I actually manage to get there and become vertical again after crashing.

Friday, 1/09/15, 21:49 pacific: I just looked over some of the comments in my Dallas airport liveblogging, and those look a lot more amusing than this one. Maybe because I am less loopy now than I was then? Or I am a much busier person and lamer than I was before? Today I am mostly just being productive. What happened to me? Or maybe it's that I am on my own and none of my friends are suffering with me this time? Terminal 2 is actually not that crowded a terminal, which is good. There have been some times when things have seemed positively desolate, though there was just a bit more activity as some people entered the terminal as they departed from an airplane.

Friday, 1/09/15, 22:10 pacific: I am now starting to feel significantly tired and grumpy. The energetic effects of the yogurt appear to have worn off, and some of the things that have occasionally bothered me during the past couple of weeks are annoying me now as the grumpiness sets in. It's funny how that works. (I'm not sure if it's ominous that the live bongo version of the song 'Psychokiller' started playing as I was finishing typing this blurb.)

Friday, 1/09/15, 22:14 pacific: The person sitting across from me seems like a douchebag.

Friday, 1/09/15, 23:35 pacific: After sitting near plugs for a while (especially one near gate 58B), it is finally close enough to the boarding time that I am sitting at my gate. I could plug my computer in, but I want to be able to put things away slightly more quickly when we finally start boarding. In the other place that I sat for a while, for a good period of time there was also a lady who seemed to be a friend of the douchebag. Even when he left, she sometimes was not paying enough attention to her surroundings, so until he came back or she started paying more attention I figured I should stay to make sure that nobody took her stuff.

Friday, 1/09/15, 23:51 pacific: We just got a chance to check in our carry-on luggage for free at the gate. I will see it again at the luggage carousel in San Antonio. It's great that I don't have to take it with me for the rest of the time my journey is in progress. Meanwhile, the guy three seats to the left of me smiled at me very creepily. Not good.

Friday, 1/09/15, 23:57 pacific: We're starting to board! Yay! (I have a 'priority' ticket, so I am guessing that I'll be boarding soon even though I have not yet been invited to board.

Saturday, 1/10/15, 06:16 central: Well, I have made it to DFW airport (about 30 min late), and now there are a couple of hours before I board the next plane. The person next to me on the SFO->DFW flight kept invading my personal space throughout the entire flight, so now I am really read to chew off heads. The bastard did things like flicking off his seatbelt such that it landed on me (twice) and was easily more than 2 inches over the armrest into my seat. His jacket was sometimes 6 full inches into my seat. Bloody Hell.

Saturday, 1/10/15, 06:35 central: Walking past certain places (like Chili's, which I think is where we ate) in this airport brings back painful memories of getting stuck overnight here in 2007. I am now sitting at my gate, because where else would I go? I'm too tired to eat much, though I got an iced latte from a Starbucks. (I passed 2 of them on the way here.) Maybe I'll get some soup from Au Bon Pain before the flight if I get a bit hungry. I also passed a couple of ads from Baylor's medical school (associated clinic?) about doing something about scoliosis if one has that. I haven't seen such advertisements before.

Saturday, 1/10/15, 06:45 central: At times like these, I sometimes notice how the volume level of my music increases as a function of time. (This is to keep the pressure low... and also to keep me awake.)

Saturday, 1/10/15, 07:22 central: I am going through some notes from one of my doctoral students. There are many ambiguities in it that make it hard to follow.

Saturday, 1/10/15, 07:25 central: It's time to listen to my disco remix of "Rubber Ducky"! (iTunes chose this song for me, but clearly that is appropriate listening fare when one is in DFW after an all-nighter.)

Saturday, 1/10/15, 08:11 central: At the entrance to the nearest men's bathroom, there is a small sign with the words "severe weather area" and a cartoon of a tornado. Clearly, it is turbulent in there...

Saturday, 1/10/15, 08:13 central: I just saw a pair of people (a couple?) wearing matching Minion shirts. Minions!

Saturday, 1/10/15, 08:30 central: My flight to San Antonio has just started boarding.

Saturday, 1/10/15, 10:10 central: I have finally made it to San Antonio. I am currently waiting for my luggage and am looking forward to getting to my hotel room and crashing for a bit.

Saturday, 1/10/15, 10:41 central: I made it to my hotel room. It is in the backup hotel, which is around the corner from the original one and is operated by the same people. (It is kind of like an overflow hotel.) This is what I was told last night would likely be necessary for me to be able to get a room before the standard 4pm check-in time at the original hotel. I'm tired and I need to rest, so that's fine. Now I just need to settle myself a bit and rest for a few hours before heading to the conference.

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