eruthros: Battlestar Galactica 1978 promo picture, captioned "first fandom" (BSG - first fandom Starbuck Apollo)
For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I will be overseas with limited internet access from June 27 - September 6. Which is SEVENTY-TWO DAYS. That is a long time to be without the rlist, guys! (I usually have about fifteen minutes of internet a day, and can take fic/email back on a thumb drive to answer on my own computer; I may also have internet for a few hours on alternate Fridays no I am not joking.)

So! Here is what I want to ask you guys:

1) What fic would you take with you to a desert island internetless space?

2) I am on delicious at eruthros, and if you see something really awesome between now and September, I'd love it if you could tag it for: eruthros. Then when I am in the airport on the way back, I will have much to download and read on the plane!

2a) Or, you know, if you have the time for it? I also love care packages of emailed fic. This is way better'n the care packages other people get, which are, like, boxes of socks and hard candies.

3) If you feel like carrying on conversations in, like, old school email threading with lots of >> marks for quotation, I am at eruthros at gmail.
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
1) Having to be at the airport before you're usually awake. (In fact, since the flight leaves at 6:10, I'll be leaving before I'm usually awake -- I usually set me alarm for 7 am.)

2) Having a three-hour layover at Newark International, the airport in which I can never find food. And in which I have to pay for the internet, if I want it. UGH.

3) Televisions in airports. "Ask your doctor about Levitor!"

4) Uh, airline travel generally, if that wasn't clear.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
At about 7 pm, as I was just grabbing my bags to head out to BART to catch a flight back to the East Coast, I got a phone call from an unknown id. "Hello?" I said "Hello? Anybody there?"

And finally an automated voice responded: "Hello, this is Continental. Your flight has been canceled or delayed. Please call this number."

Me: Nooooo!

And then I phoned them. After dealing with the usual "all flights to your destination are booked until the 20th," they got me on a flight to a nearby small town that -- with luck -- I will be able to get a ride home from, or at least be able to catch a shuttle, just one day delayed.

So, here is why they're still the best option out of my small-town-airport: they phoned me before I ended up in Newark with a canceled connecting flight. They swapped cities without complaint. When I was flying out here, in December, US Airways had canceled an entire day's worth of flights, with all the passengers already at the airport, and then they didn't take rescheduling requests by phone, and there was a line a million people long waiting to try to figure out how to get to Rome or Virginia or whatever. Continental... well, I was inconvenienced, and getting home on Friday is going to be interesting (either slow or expensive), but they didn't strand me overnight in Newark or anything.

In the current air-travel climate, I'll take what I can get.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
So, I never win anything. When it comes to raffles, I'm one of the left-over tickets going home without even a brownie; when I drop a card into a fishbowl at a convention, all I get is junk mail later.

But here is one place that I win all the time: I often end up on of the only two people on a plane with nobody sitting next to me in the middle row. Partly this is the result of being good at the algorithms that companies use to book seats on the plane, but partly it's just good luck. I was nearly bumped from my flight from Ithaca to Newark, because they were concerned that it was overbooked; I didn't get a seat assignment until five minutes before the plane took off.

... and I ended up sitting in the window seat in an overwing-exit row with nobody next to me. Seriously.
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
PS: everyone smokes here. Have I mentioned that? I feel I might not have given it the weight it deserves.
eruthros: Captain Jack Sparrow gazing into the camera (PotC), captioned "bring me that horizon" (PotC - bring me that horizon)
I have a new theory. It is:

International travel is like childbirth. Your brain makes you forget the labor pains or you'd never do it again.

Oh my GOD, you guys. So there was the standard waiting-in-line-at-airport, which I did at SFO. Delta is way organized an' all, but also waaaaay busy, and even at 4.30 am the lines are long. And icky. And long. And me sitting there going "oh, please let me have time to fill my water bottles and get a cup of coffee on the other side of security." (As it turned out: coffee yes, water no, as drinking fountain broken. Cruel world.)

And then, you know, six hours on an airplane. And then a transfer in JFK, where I nearly got bumped but then the Delta dude got distracted. (I wouldn't have minded being bumped; they were promising a good night's sleep at a hotel and four hundred Delta dollars, whatever those are.)

And then, of course, another ten hours on an airplane. Where I did not get a window seat as I'd specified, and was instead in an aisle, where it is harder to get solid sleep. And where they kept showing ads and things all night, bright flashing Delta logos and awfulness.

And all of the other things about international travel as well: long lines at passport control, being reminded that people can smoke everywhere here, and another ten hour bus ride ahead of me. (On which I at least get a window seat, yay!)

Oh, and that bus ride? I can't get on it until 10 pm. It's 12:20 now. I might actually go back to the airport, because it's just over a dollar to take the metro, and the airport has air conditioning. And free wifi.

Basically: the world is kinda spinny and I don't care for it.

Also: y'all should be on IM and say hi before I get to the middle of nowhere and vanish forever.

Hmm.

May. 28th, 2008 04:05 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Over the loudspeaker, regarding my flight, which has been delayed for ages: "If you're waiting for flight whatever, we are under an aircraft maintenance delay."

[livejournal.com profile] graycastle, over IM: "They are under it? How are they under it?"

So, what do you think? How exactly are they under it?

(Bored at airport, can you tell?)
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
So I finally finished packing -- I was nearly done, but despairing of those last few things, late last night. And then [livejournal.com profile] graycastle came by yesterday evening, AFTER she went out with some buddies to celebrate someone's exam, to help me disassemble my dresser. And she was also helpfully decisive at me, because by that point I was so over it that I was like "I don't know! What do I do with the dish drainer? Where does it GO? I only have three things left!1 Why can't I find places to put them!"

And then she let me sleep on her futon (as I had packed all my sheets) and gave me a beer. YAY. And lent me some tape, and helped me finish taping packages this morning. And then, after we had some coffee and muffins, my friend B. came by to pick up the Too Valuable To Let Landlord Put In Storage stuff (photos!), and drove it to [livejournal.com profile] graycastle's, and then me to the airport, and then I was done, thank god.

BLESS THEM BOTH, is what I'm saying. Never has the idea of a plane flight been so relaxing before. I plan to listen to podfic or maybe just music and nap, you guys. Naps! I am pro.

***
1. The dish drainer, a pair of boots, and a tea set.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
To have the airport shuttle fail to show up! Yeah! I waited for it for the scheduled time, and then for the extra fifteen minutes of "we may be fifteen minutes late," and ... no. Nothing. No shuttle.

So because I have no cell phone, I ran back to the apartment from the doorstep and called the yellow cab company. "What are your approximate rates to SFO?" I asked. "When do you need somebody?" he said. "I don't know if I need somebody until I know what it ... oh, fine, here's the address, I need someone now, NOW will you tell me what it will cost?" me, exasperated. "Rates? You mean average fares?" him, stonewalling. "Um, YEAH." Him: "Oh, about fifty dollars, early AM hours, somebody can be there in half an hour." "No THANKS," said I, as that is a) far too expensive (that's flat-rate from the East Bay!) and b) half an hour? I didn't have half an hour!

So instead I booked it to the mission street BART station at 4:40 am. Now, you may ask why this was not my first choice, and the answer is simple: Mission district. Laptop. Four-something-am. BUT I knew there was a 4:48 train that would get me to the airport an hour-plus before my flight (faster than the cab!), and I can totally do a half a mile of flat city streets in eight minutes, even with luggage and with having to get a ticket and get onto the train, right? Absolutely! I made it! With a minute to spare! *dance of successful BART run* Only then I was sweaty and icky and tired, which I really didn't need after being already tired from, you know, waking up at three-something and waiting for my 3:50 am airporter. That I may have mentioned DIDN'T SHOW UP.

So, basically, that sucked a lot.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
This ranks about 139, in terms of Things I Shall Never Do Again.

Guys: my flight is at 8:50. I know the American bus system, and I know that there's a storm coming in, and that it's going to hit upstate New York before it hits Manhattan, which would stop the buses.

So I thought, okay, 8:50 pm. No stress. I shall wake up early, do the last minute tea dishes, grab my bags, and catch the 7:20 bus! It is supposed to get to New York at 12:00! And that way I have lots of leeway built in in case of stupid American bus system, or the Lincoln Tunnel, or whatever. Or maybe to switch flights at the airport.

And indeed, this I did. I suspect that 90% of the people awake and out and about at 7:20 am made the same choice, incidentally: in my mile-plus walk to the bus station (in 17 degree weather! with wind! and with ice! and dark!), I saw... three pedestrians, five police cars (or maybe the same police car five times), twelve cars, two Ithaca Bakery delivery trucks (this is why they never have the good bread at the Collegetown store before 7:00, even though they technically open at 6:30), and the staff at Green Star and Gimme! Coffee, neither of which was open.

At the bus station, however, I saw ... one hundred college students. Most with bags the size of, give or take, a Holstein. Now, I was one of the first twenty there, but that means nothing at Greyhound stations, which like to avoid the issue of forming lines or cordoning off space in favor of great rushing mobs.

And then the bus showed up. It already had forty-some people on it. It was late arriving, and the forty-some people all had to get out and buy tickets before they'd let new people on -- this is, seriously, the worst thought out system ever; they pick up on campus, but they don't sell tickets there, so. They could require people to buy tickets in advance at the student services place on College Avenue, but they do not. And then they let ten of the milling people on, but only ones with no luggage, because they'd filled every rack. (They'd known the bus was full since the driver radioed down, but that was the first point at which they radioed for another bus.) The 8:00 to Syracuse departed before the 7:20 bus did.

And I was like, hey, no problem, they radioed for another bus, they've promised us it'll be an express, I have, like, a bazillion hours built in, whatevs. And the second bus wouldn't be full, which would be nice. (Some of the hundred people were going to Syracuse.)

So we waited for the other bus... and waited... and waited... and it was fifteen minutes away. And it was fifteen minutes away. And it was fifteen minutes away.

When it finally arrived, we discovered that in fact it would not be an express bus because a) one of the women who'd been bumped was going to the Ridgewood Park and Ride, NJ and b) the bus driver was on the ninth hour of his shift, and could legally drive us only as far as Binghamton.

So we get to Binghamton, and the bus driver heads off to find out what's up (telling us all about his wife's dialysis as he went), shutting the door on us. And we sit. And we sit. He comes out of the terminal, talks to people, heads off in another direction, goes back in the terminal. We get antsy, and anyway we want to use the restroom. (One of the women eventually just goes "fuck it," figures out which level opens the door, and heads in. She is then roundly scolded by the counter staff: why aren't you waiting on the bus? Her: Because it's been fifteen minutes and I have to go to the bathroom? Them: Why must you make trouble? Fifteen minutes isn't that long! Her: Yeah, except I was supposed to get here two hours ago.)

The bus driver finally returns. Well, sort of. He walks past the bus, doing the shrug-and-two-palms-out of "I dunno, but it's not my problem."

"Wait, what?" we all say. Several more people get off the bus, off to investigate. One of them returns and reports back to everyone, because the counter staff clearly aren't going to do it: "They're looking for a driver. They don't have a driver. And they say we should stay on the bus and wait for them to tell us more."

The bus turns cold: they've had hours to find a driver. Most people on it are on flights at 4 or 5 pm. And we've waited for twenty minutes already without even a report.

Finally a woman from the counter shows up. Rejoicing! Perhaps an official briefing! Perhaps a driver! Oh, no, she's just here to find out where we're all going. "We're working on it," she says. I nap for a while, occasionally surfacing to complain with the linguist I met in the original terminal. (Adversity brings people together! We all watched each other's bags as people ran for Green Star or 7-11 or whatever. A nice physics grad student bought me a scone in exchange for watching her bags. The linguist was a Cornell grad, now a UCSC student, with Jim McCloskey. We shared stories of being cornered by Geoff Pullum at parties.) Said linguist has a flight at 4:30, and we're all getting steadily more ... and more ... and more ... pissed off.

Another dude shows up. He can't be our driver, because we've seen him wandering around the terminal for twenty minutes now.

Oh. He is our driver. And he doesn't apologize or anything for the delay, just "okay, New York." And off we go. We have to stop a couple of times (for him to use the restroom). And then we get to the Lincoln Tunnel. UCSC grad student dude is already sitting there all tense and ready to spring off at the drop of a hat.

And then there's a stall in the Tunnel. In our lane. Takes half an hour to clear. The bus is working on three hours late. We get to Port Authority, finally, and everyone scatters at the speed of light to their various transit choices to the airport.

So I finally got to the airport, and ... I can't switch to the earlier flight (too late), so I do have to wait for the 8:50. But I can't check in until 4:50. And all the amenities? Including wifi? And chairs? And electrical outlets? And food that isn't ice cream? Is on the other side of security.

I mean, the whole time it was happening I was like "[livejournal.com profile] eruthros! you've got seven hours built in! this is no big!" but I got sympathetic nerves from all the people with five pm flights. Blargh. *shakes self* It was exhausting: nobody telling you anything, ever, and having no faith in the system to remember your bus, and altogether ick. I'm exhausted and I haven't even done the flying yet! AND they're playing Christmas carols. *facepalm*

Rochester is equidistant, and equivalently priced, but the airport only runs little bitty planes, and it gets more snow, so I've opted out. But on the other hand, guys, the bus to Rochester? Doesn't have this mob scene.

***

Now through security! Fed a reasonably-priced freshly-made burrito! Sitting at my gate on JetBlue's wifi! Suddenly, the world is much better.

Well, except I'm still exhausted and my eyes are already dry and itchy, and I haven't even flown yet. But still! Better!

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eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
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