Because I was bringing home too much stuff I checked my suitcase in Dallas. Got to Toronto, waded through customs, came out at the baggage claim area, where apparently you're supposed to pick up your bag and check it to your next flight.
I bet you can guess where this is going.
I asked the Air Canada baggage desk if that was actually the procedure. They said no, and pointed to a list of origin cities from which baggage processing is expedited. Dallas was on that list. With some foreboding I went on through.
In a shock to no one, when I got off the plane in Vancouver my luggage wasn't waiting for me.
Based on conversations with several other people on a couple of different flights, it sounds like *no* bags from Toronto got transferred to anywhere. Idiots. I filed a report and got a claim number, and my bag is currently listed as "en route to destination airport."
I wisely pulled my laptop out of the suitcase during packing. I neglected to grab my razor, and I completely forgot about my house keys, so I'm housebound today.
Full con report coming probably later today, because I've not done one of those in awhile.
I remember very little of the stopover at Toronto, except that the breakfast options were uniformly terrible. We overpaid for Starbucks breakfast.
The flight from Toronto to La Guardia couldn't land on its first pass due to an almost complete lack of visibility. Then, once we landed and managed to locate the gate for our exit flight (no mean trick, LGA's C gates are not all in the same building) our original flight to DC had been cancelled, and the replacement that we'd been bumped on to was the victim of a plane unable to leave DCA for several hours.
We arrived somewhat the worse for the wear into a fifteen-minute downpour. It's good to see real rain again instead of the constant dripping one gets in Vancouver. Thankfully it had stopped by the time we got to the hotel shuttle waiting area.
Got checked in and picked up WFC registration, had a very slow dinner at a very busy diner across the street, had ice cream, and slept for twelve hours.
Now I am officially at World Fantasy, though I'm not entirely sure why.
I like Montreal an awful lot, at least the bits that we got to see. The tiny urban parks and the row houses around Sherbrooke with their sweeping iron staircases make me happy, and there's just something about the architecture and the design (?) that give it a sense of permanence and place that Vancouver lacks. I think if I couldn't live in Vancouver I'd be happy in Montreal. I have no particular opinion about YUL: it's smallish and some amount of it seems to be under construction, but on the other hand it has very comfy seats and a dedicated NEXUS line which doesn't use Rapiscans.
The con itself... I stayed up late talking about books and indie RPGs and more books, I met several cool people, I ate a lot of good food. I only had to bash the social brainweasels a few times before they shut up. I missed Sherwood, but I got to spend at least a little time with just about everyone else I'd known I'd wanted to see, and with several that I hadn't.
 "You don't know anybody, nobody wants to talk to you, nobody remembers you, you don't belong here." You know. THOSE brainweasels.
Also got a bit of email written, and a bit of story bashed into place. Good times.
( 101 in 1001 update )
A few months after we moved to Vancouver we got Nexus cards. For $50 and a background check, we can now cross the US-Canada border in special expedited lanes. The signs that declare PEACE ARCH CROSSING 45 MIN WAIT now translate to "ten minutes in line and two questions from the customs agent." We also get lighter security screening on intranational flights and don't have to talk to a human being when we fly into Canada from the US.
Sometime last year the TSA decided to acknowledge that those of us who'd been through the Nexus screening program were unlikely to be a terrorist risk, and opened the "PreCheck" security lanes to Nexus cardholders. Attempts to use the PreCheck lanes last year met with frustration at every turn: the lanes were only open some of the time, the people working the lanes didn't know who was eligible and who wasn't, PreCheck is only available for entirely domestic flights (if you're flying out of the country, clearly you are going to blow up the plane on your way out.).
Today the stars aligned. After a pleasant train ride down and a tasty lunch with imperatrice at Katsu Burger (I am only surprised that the people selling deep-fried hamburgers are Japanese and not, say, Texans at the state fair) I arrived at SeaTac at 12:30. Plenty of time to wait through the ridiculous security lines and still make my flight. On a whim I wandered over to the PreCheck line, just to see what they'd tell me this time.
They scanned my boarding pass and ... just waved me on through. I hauled my luggage onto the conveyor belt (didn't have to remove liquids or laptops) and walked through a normal x-ray scanner. Total time from entry to exit: maybe five minutes.
This seems like a reasonable way to run an airport security line. Now to entertain myself for an hour and a half before my flight.
( Notes from a desert )
( Eventually. )
But I made it okay, starving and headachey and worse for the wear. I found uilos and collapsed on the bed in the hotel room for probably half an hour or so, and then she herded me to North Market for the first of several weekend meals involving crepes.
( And then it was Origins. )
( Speculation about next year )
Overall: fun but not nearly enough of it.
And now I am home,and it's time to face the week.
Democracy: "It's fairly clear that Republicans don't understand how democracy works."
But we get up again: "We did what we could, and he died warm." Sniffly.
Your homework done for free! A brief synopsis of The Lord Of The Rings: "If you simply don't like to read, however, I'm sure the following synopsis and suggestions will help you make the grades you obviously deserve." Contains such memorable bits as "They make their escape [from Lothlorien] when Beruthiel's good sister, Galadriel, frees them from their prison-cell and floats them down the river in barrels," which is wrong in so many not-right ways. (I'm pretty sure I've linked to this before, but what the hey. It's amusing.)
About a month ago I finally got a good raincoat (Gore-tex, long, lightweight, and green; I'm reliably informed that I look like a park ranger when I'm wearing it). A little while after that I acquired a good bag: a Timbuk2 Blogger bag, which is basically a vertical messenger bag with a laptop pocket on the back. (Poking around online reveals that there seem to be two versions: mine has two water bottle pockets on the sides but no external pocket. I would have liked the external pocket but the water bottle pockets are handy, too.) So I figured I'd put them to the test and lit out for a week in Vancouver.
Dulles has finally opened its subway thing and retired the godawful people-movers, so I've upgraded it from "horrid" to merely "bad." It's still too narrow and too decentralized for me to want to use it.
On the way out I caught up with babushek for dinner, since I had this three-hour layover in San Francisco. She seems to be adapting well to West Coast life.
The city was beautiful and compelling and wide-open and exciting, and I got to ride the bus or SkyTrain almost everywhere I couldn't walk to. I saw the Capilano Suspension Bridge (Vancouver's oldest tourist trap) and rode the Aquabus and found a lot of tea and some oeufs fondant. I caught an OmniMax (like IMAX, only projected on a curved screen using a fisheye lens) movie about beavers and ate dim sum in Chinatown. I also found a bunch more bookstores this time, which is a Good Thing. I still had the slightly embarrassing response of humming "Nova Scotia's dumb 'cos it's the name of a bank" every time I passed a ScotiaBank sign.
Mostly I wandered around and enjoyed the rain, the crepes, the lack of rain (on Tuesday and Wednesday), and the presence of mountains and water and city-ness. I'd originally planned to look at apartments but Vancouver seems to lack any sort of centralized "we have apartments for rent" like DC's Apartment Guide, and writing down a bunch of places to go to seemed like more effort than it was worth. So there was wandering, alone and later with nixve. I got to places outside the downtown peninsula this time, Kitsilano and North Vancouver and even a little of Burnaby. Mostly this reinforced my desire to live in downtown, near the water and the high-rises and all the bus lines.
And then I came home and went to work and haven't quite recovered yet. I'm pretty sure I needed that time away. I just also need a weekend of Not Going Anywhere.
Which is to say, after catching Ponyo with uilos last Tuesday night (verdict: a very very odd fairy tale of a movie, more like Totoro than any of the other Miyazaki films I've seen, and worth watching although don't stay for the godawful end-credits song), I spent most of a week in and around Bellingham with nixve, attempting to go backpacking in a downpour, successfully meeting her other SOs (but not the Insignificant ones, which works out, I think), eating an awful lot of ice cream, and generally having a Vacation. Details forthcoming.
(I will note, though, that the Atlanta airport reminds me of the Memphis one, with less brown, on a larger scale, and with a train that seriously jerks one around. Oof. Changing planes here was something of an Experience, and would have been touch and go if I'd not had such a crazy-long layover.)
I'm not sure if it'll do anything for my feelings of burnout, because I suspect that's not so much burnout as dissatisfaction and a desire to be doing something wildly Different. I'm beginning to piece together ideas about why and how that is, and what it is I'm wanting. Starting to write again has been a part of that process, I think; ditto a handful of other Projects. Thing is, crazy ideas that will never actually work keep popping up and wanting to be taken seriously like now.
Bleh. Sleep, perhaps.
My airport tales of delay and misrouting all involve O'Hare in some way. Lost luggage either didn't follow me here, or went through here when it shouldn't have. Late flights are all to or from.
It's not such a bad airport. Not as ill-designed as Dulles, or as ill-executed as LAX. Just. . . long.
Which is a roundabout way of saying that after arriving early, and even being rerouted to the same terminal as my connecting flight, I'm now stuck waiting for a plane that's half an hour late and counting.
Maybe O'Purgatory would be a better name.