August 19, 2004

Orlando Notes

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at August 19, 2004 3:53 PM

Destruction: Thanks to Hurricane Charley, our terminal at the Orlando airport was missing a roof. Ok, this is an exaggeration, but there was enough damage that water from the recent rains was falling from the ceiling as we stepped through the gate, and ceiling tiles that absorbed too much water had been falling to the floor.

Outside we saw plenty of uprooted trees and freeway signs ripped from their posts, but no scenes of apocalyptic devastation.

In-flight Movies: Total offered: 4. Total watched: 0. They were:
Mean Girls: I'd actually heard this was good, but I spent the flight finishing A Storm of Swords.
Starsky & Hutch: Or, I could sleep.
Johnson Family Vacation: I didn't watch it, but based on the reaction of the woman sitting next to me, it's almost as funny as catching Dorothy and her little dog, too.
Jersey Girl: I'd been warned about this one, and avoided it.

In-flight Reading:
A Storm of Swords: This is a damn good fantasy series. Unfortunately, I'm now in the miserable category of Waiting for the Next Book. And it's going to be a long wait. I'm writing down some notes about what the characters are doing so I can remind myself in a year.

Battle Royale: This was my reading material for the rest of the trip. Very much a pulp novel and the writing is at about the quality of The Da Vinci Code (this is not a compliment). But in this case that could be a problem with the translator rather than the author. Decent airplane reading, although I had trouble at times keeping track of all the characters--maybe I, too, should have been checking them off the list.

Annoying Children: Needless to say, if Orlando isn't the world capital of loud, obnoxious kids, it's at least in the top five. During the shuttle ride from the airport (30 minutes that felt like a year) I was crammed in with some typical specimens, and I spent the ride inventorying the items on hand to determine if I could, on the spot, undertake irreversible surgery to prevent me from ever spawning. Although if there had been sharp objects on hand, I'm not sure I would have been so restrained as to use them only on myself. The father was just as bad, pointing to every billboard that advertised a theme park (which meant, in fact, every billboard) and saying, "Look guys, there's [name of ride]". Maybe they came from a state with no advertising, I don't know.

I also got to share my return flight with the Whiniest Kid in the Universe, who cried for pretty much the entire flight over some trivial issue (he dropped a cup on the floor, and couldn't retrieve it? It was something like this), and then, in a brilliant tactical manuever, switched to crying about how his "parent" (I use the term loosely) was making him cry by not rectifying the situation. Having just read all that George R. R. Martin I immediately thought of Robert Arryn, but since I was sitting in the exit row, I was the one with the Moon Door*. I suppose I would have been prevented from flinging him out the exit door, but it was a nice thought. (As an aside, while my position on screaming infants on airplanes is well-known, I at least understand their point of view. When the kid is old enough to know better, that's less excusable.)

*Did I get the name right? I'll check when I get home.

Arcane Gazebo vs. Dihydrogen Monoxide: I engaged in an epic battle against the hotel shower, and lost. The design flaws were combined too well to really be flaws; I suspect the designer was deliberately trying to cause trouble.

The Talk: I walked up to the podium, clipped on the microphone, and set up the Powerpoint slides. Then I turned around and saw that I was looking at a big room filled with important people who were all looking at me. My brain sort of froze at that point, but some automatic trigger went off and I heard my own voice over the speaker introducing the talk. Once I had started, I had to concentrate on what to say next and this caused me to put the whole being-stared-at thing at the back of my mind. I felt like my delivery was better than it was in March, and the feedback I got later was very positive. Plus, my talk was given as an annex to John's, so I stuck him with all the questions. So it was pretty successful.

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Welcome to the "Hurry the Hell up, George R.R" Club. The release date for the next one is next August, so you have the time to do all the notes you wish.

Posted by: Vanessa | August 19, 2004 10:18 PM

Re: movies, I saw Starsky and Hutch and thought it was pretty funny. I would suspect it mostly depends on if you like or dislike Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. :)

Re: books - I've been meaning to get into that series, could you recommend a good first book? Also, have you read any David Weber? I'd highly recommend "On Basilisk Station" as the first of his Honor Harrington series, as being excellent military SF reading.

Oh yeah, I was going to make a doom 3 comment, but I think i'll just email that, as it's prolly uninteresting to other blog readers. :)

Posted by: ZIfnab | August 20, 2004 3:43 PM

Sounds interesting, I'll add David Weber to The Pile. The George R. R. Martin series has this sequence:

1. A Game of Thrones
2. A Clash of Kings
3. A Storm of Swords
4. A Feast for Crows (forthcoming August 2005 *sob*)

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | August 20, 2004 5:37 PM

Hmmm...I'm going to be in Orlando in early October for a conference, where kissing up is a must---many of my primary target audience will be there.

Did you see Ben while you were in Orlando? He lives there now.

Also, I forgot to ask how close to Games of Berkeley you now live.

Posted by: Mason Porter | August 24, 2004 8:42 PM
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