Saturday, 7 November 2015

CFSummit (Saturday): if I ever get there

This is going to be content-free, for the most part. Be warned. Indeed currently I don't have the content for this planned, but I'm stuck at Houston airport with beer in hand and... time to kill.

OK, so I started my trek to Las Vegas for CFSummit this morning, with the first hitch being the coffee stand at the Tube station was shut, so I have now endured an entire day without an espresso. This seems... wrong. It was probably a portent, and I did not notice. Dammit.

When choosing my flights I decided to pick one flying a 787, to see if they are any good (I'd not flown on one before). I can't say I was that impressed: it didn't even seem new (either in age or in design), so it was a bit disappointing. I did like the new window blind concept they have: it's not a blind, it's an... electrically-sensitive-gel-based thing (apparently: "How The Magical Windows in Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Work"), which has a button which makes the window get gradually darker. This is cool except for the fact they can be controller centrally too, and the cabin crew decided we were going to be in night-time mode for most of the flight (which was entirely actually daytime). So I missed my favourite part of flying over unfamiliar countries: looking down at what it looks like. All I could see was a dull blue colour. To put in perspective of how much light the gel will block when on "full strength", one can look directly at the sun through it... although it's still very bloody bright and not something to do for a sustained period of time. That aside... I remain very impressed with A380s as far as "modern aircraft" go, but don't see the fuss about 787s. And, yes, I know I am "comparing" different classes of aircraft there.

En flight I had a Goose Island IPA (from a can, no less), and that was bloody good. Actually I had three of those. Then they ran out of those and they gave me a Miller Lite instead. That was awful.

I watched Terminator: Genisys, which I thought was pretty good (going against general opinion, I think), indeed I'd put it second best in the series after the original. I rank those films: Terminator, T:G, T3, T:S / T2. I know I'm an outlier when it comes to ranking T2 so low, but I don't really think it brought anything new to the story: it was a rehash of the original with a bigger budget.

I also watched something called Air, which was "interesting", but... didn't quite get there. it was all right.

Oh and I watched the first three episodes of "Humans", which was really good.

One disappointing thing about this 787 was that whilst it had power outlets on economy seats (two outlets per three seats), it wasn't switched on. But I didn't need my laptop anyhow, so no problem really.

Getting into George Bush International Airport (after 10h in the air), I girded my loins for "The Immigration Experience". True to form, whilst having a cavernous immigration hall, with 40 desks to process people, the US Border Force decided the 1000-odd people in the queue would be best processed via never any more than a dozen desks being opened. It took around an hour to get to the front of the queue-feed-queue to get into an actual queue in front of a desk. And another 20min after that to get through. This was the at Philadelphia for CF.Objective() a coupla years ago. Entering USA is by far the worst border experience I have encountered (and I've been to Russia...).

At this point I had 10min to find my bag, re-check it, and board my LAS flight. Which was pretty much stymied by the queue for customs after picking up my bag. I'd missed my connection by then (my brain was actually going "hooray! I have enough time for a beer now!"), so rebooked on the next flight - no charge, and no batting of eyelids... this is just "normal" for USA domestic air travel apparently.

After that I had another 20min in the security queue, operated by drittereichian TSA staff, who would - I imagine - be gleeful if their jobs involved processing people straight from rail cars, if they had the chance.

Oh... just to wind back a queue or two: here's a question for my USAn readers... why does a desk clerk at an immigration desk need a gun? What's wrong with you lot?  The only way I can see a gun being necessary in that environment is in a "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" kind of way, if the people in the queue give up the will to live before being processed.


Anyway, I missed my connection as I said, but I'm on the next flight to LV, which doesn't leave for a coupla hours (well: an hour or so now...), so I've parked-up at "Rocket and Rye" (they seem to have no website), who have good beer, not bad food, and a coupla people to talk to.

I recommend the Weekend Warrior Pale Ale, Ryed Hard, and the chicken quesadilla, btw.

By the time I get to LV this evening (touch down @ 11pm, apparently), I doubt I'll be in any sort of state or mood to say "g'day" to people, but let's see...


Finally at the hotel, and at 11:58pm... it's bed for me. I'm too old to be starting to go out at midnight.

Up in three hours to Skype with my boy, back in Ireland.