Shore-Leave recap

We just had the Shore Leave 28 wrap-up meeting yesterday and it brought all the memories flooding back.
Thursday I picked up S. and her son L. at Dulles. As we were heading down I-66 toward the beltway, she asked if we might find time over the weekend to visit the monuments so L. could see them. After some brief discussion, we decided there was “no time like the present” and set off on an impromptu tour.
This was the first time in about 10 years that I’d intentionally driven into DC. (I accidentally found myself on the National Mall back in December when I made a wrong turn on my to see Serenity, but this time, I was going on purpose.) Given the huge amounts of traffic you usually see downtown, I didn’t hold out much hope for finding a parking space and thought we’d have to settle for driving past a few memorials and content ourselves with the view. It turns out that there’s a parking lot for tourists over by the FDR memorial.
That was just what Doctor ordered! So we parked the car and set out on foot. Over the next couple hours we visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the World War II memorial (the first time I’d ever seen it too), the Korean War memorial and several smaller ones as well. Before leaving DC, we also stopped by Albert Einstein memorial near the intersection of 21st and Constitution.
Stopping for dinner in Rockville, we arrived in Hunt Valley about 10:30pm. It was a longer trip than originally planned, but we had fun.
After meeting Amanda Tapping in person, I’m happy to report that she’s just as friendly in person as you might hope. One neat thing with her was on Saturday, she helped auction off a “Wonder Twins” item to benefit the Julien Fleming Memorial Fund. The item was a plush toy panda in camouflage fatigues dubbed “A Panda Tapping.” Not only was Amanda a good sport about the name, she went on to tell a story about how her brothers once nicknamed “Amanda the Panda.” Then she made an offer to the audience – whatever the top bid was for the Panda, she’d match it, dollar for dollar. In the end, that promise ended up costing her $1,000. (As a nice touch, the runner up in the bidding later contacted the charity and donated an additional $1,000, bringing the charity a total of $3,000 from that auction.)
During the day on Saturday, I had a chance to speak with Corin Nemec. After some initial hesitation I told him there was a question I’d been debating whether to ask him to which he replied, “Go ahead, ask me anything.” So I did. If you’re a fan of country music, you’re no doubt familiar with Toby Keith’s “Beer for my Horses.” Corin made an appearance in the video and I told him it looked like it must have been a lot of fun to shoot. So then I asked him, “Did you know about the dress before the day of the shoot?” He laughed and said that he’d known but he was excited about the opportunity to work with Willie Nelson.
One of the other actors I had the opportunity to interact with was Kent McCord, he was at the con because of his roles on Galactica 1980 and Farscape, but I knew him better for his role on Adam-12.
A few years back, I had the opportunity to chat for a few minutes with Mike Stoker. He’d had a small part on Emergency!, but his real career was an LA county fire fighter. The role on Emergency! came about because they needed an actual fire fighter to drive the engine on the show. One of the questions I asked him was whether he’d ever arrived at a fire only to have someone try to send him away because they didn’t think he was a real firefighter. It turns out that it really did happen!
Based on that experience, I asked Kent if he’d ever been mistaken for a real police officer and found out that happened to him and Martin Milner on several occasions. Once they were filming on location in downtown LA, jumped out of the car with guns drawn, and the people on the street ran because they didn’t know they were actors filming a TV show.
Other highlights of the weekend: I had a rare Mark Anbinder sighting. Mark makes it Shore Leave every year, but for four years in a row, I never saw him, just heard reports afterward that he’d been there. I did see him last year, but didn’t have a chance to talk. This year we actually managed to chat for 10-15 minutes!
Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn is, of course, still quite hideous. Rumor has it that they’re losing a lot of wedding receptions because nobody wants that décor as a background for their big day. I had my own fun with it back at Farpoint, equipping the entire Farpoint committee with “carpet deflectors.” At Shore Leave, Todd Brugmans handed out 50 pairs of “Carpet Secret Message Decoders” – cardboard sunglasses with red cellophane lenses that would purportedly let you read secret messages encoded in the carpet patterns. (It’s as good an explanation for those carpets as any other.)
One of the many people who don’t like the décor is Sophia Kelly-Shultz. Sophia’s been a regular at Shore Leave for a number of years and this year she entered an item in the Art Show titled, “Law & Order – Artistic Intent”; poking fun at the hotel’s decorating and claiming that the decorators “…received a sentence of 15 1/2 to life for turning a perfectly good hotel into something Andy Warhol would eschew.” With additional comments about an ongoing search for “…the LSD that inspired the carpets.”
All told, it was a great weekend. My only regret is that it was over so soon.

When infrastructure attacks!

I think my company’s IT infrastructure is out to get me. Maybe not physical harm, but my productivity is definitely being impacted.
It wasn’t all that long ago that I spent the day twiddling my thumbs because the computer’s power supply failed. The twiddling was, of course, metaphorical. It’s been several years since I spent any significant amount of time literally twiddling my thumbs. Instead, I spent the day researching uses for the word “metaphorical.”
And then, just last week, I got a bonus day off when the building power went out. The backup generator failed too, so I got to go home and start my July 4th celebration a day early.
This morning, it was the corporate network that failed. I rebooted my computer and when it came back up, it could no longer connect to the network. It wasn’t just my computer having problems, a number of my co-workers had the same problem.
I’m not complaining though. Technology has always promised us more leisure time. I may as well enjoy it.
Perhaps I’ll brush up on my twiddling technique. 🙂

Rough Week at Work

The original plan for this week was pretty nice: Saturday & Sunday off, work Monday, Tuesday off for the Fourth of July, work Wednesday, and then take Thursday through Monday off for Shore Leave. Or, put another way, two off, one on, one off, one on, five off. If you have to go to work, that’s not a bad way to do it.
After a fun weekend that included the Germantown fireworks, I showed up at work on Monday, raring to go. I got there right around 9:00 and not only was the power out (rumor has it there was a fire on the lines and the fire department cut them), but at some point the emergency generator had run out of oil and now there were no lights in the stairwells and the key card system was dead. (Folks could leave the office, but they couldn’t go back in.) Around 45 minutes later the first manager from our group arrived and after a short interval, started telling people to go home. (At this point the lights had been out for three hours with no known timeline for a resolution.)
Cool! Now I effectively had a four-day weekend, a one-day work week, and a five-day weekend. Now that’s the way to do it! (Especially since I didn’t have to use any extra vacation days.)
The lights went out at home for two hours on the fourth, so I thought it would be kind of fitting if my only remaining work day this week was canceled due to a third outage, but no such luck.
But it was still a great way to spend a holiday work week!