Comic-Con Blog

From Paradise to the Geek Prom

En Route

Composing this in the WordPress app for iPhone. Hope it works. Curiously, AT&T chose today to have an islandwide service outage, so my Twitter posts and tech tests have been limited.

We’re aboard our flight to SFO. I decided to spring for “Economy Plus” so we weren’t sitting at the very back of the plane and to get a modest extra five inches of legroom for our overnight flight. I wasn’t sure if it was worth the extra money, but now that we’re up front and stretching our legs, I think I’m sold. Five inches sounded pretty pathetic, but considering how cramped I usually feel in “steerage” class (and I’m barely 5’4″), this is downright luxurious. It’ll hopefully make it easier to accomplish the unlikely: actual sleep on a flight.

I’m prepared to serve as Jen’s pillow for the next five hours.

I took today off from work, so we didn’t really pack until this morning. I also went into KIPO to prerecord the news segment that will air tomorrow. We wanted the headlines to be as fresh as possible (though we just missed an announcement relating to the Thirty-Meter Telescope!).

I owe Burt Lum and Lillian Tsang big for accommodating two separate prerecording sessions (the other half was recorded a couple of weeks ago) so I could still be part of the show. I suspect it would’ve been easier to have a guest host or just feature Burt solo.

It was tough saying goodbye to the kids (Katie did only a fair job hiding her tears), but they’ve been through this before, and probably look forward to a much more lax household under grandma. And this year, of course, Katie has email and Twitter and will be able to keep in touch, and keep everyone posted on our adventures.

After dinner, we headed to the airport, and got to our gate 30 minutes before boarding. Interesting, the previous flight to LAX wad delayed several hours, so they had some trouble shuffling those passengers and the ones on our flight at the one gate.

I also realized that I had almost booked us on that flight to get an earlier start and to have two and a half hours to make our connecting flight (versus the 50 minute scramble we have ahead of us at SFO). Good thing Jen hates LAX with the fire of a thousand suns. We would’ve been stuck at the airport all night and still missed our connecting in the airport from hell.

In flight movie: Dragonball somethingorother. I’m sure it was snubbed by the Academy. Fortunately, it turns out my geeky wife has “Wall-E” and “Nick and Norah’ Infinite Playlist” on her 160GB iPod. As well as some “LOST” episodes as well.

Also? Noise canceling headphones rule. I was won over during my trip to SXSW, and got Jen a pair today. Sony, under $40, and worth every penny.

And our pilot reports now that we’ll be arriving in SFO early. The gods are smiling upon us today.

Too bad we couldn’t avoid LAX for our return leg. But we’re definitely doing Economy Plus.

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July 21, 2009 Posted by | Updates | , , , | 4 Comments

Recharging

Trip

The last leg of our journey was surprisingly short. The commuter terminal at SAN is about as small as the commuter terminal at HNL, so after a short walk we were waiting for a cab in the San Diego sunshine. We got to talk to the kids on the phone, but had to talk over the airport announcer explaining why there were police cars and fire trucks everywhere. (A passenger on a flight had a medical emergency.) Soon enough, our cab whisked us onto I-5 and into Hazard Center at Mission Valley. The trip on winding, Red Hill-like highways took ten, fifteen minutes tops. The fare was $20 even.

I’m sitting in the dark right now (hooray for blackout curtains, though they can be a disaster for chronic oversleepers). Jen’s recharging with a midday nap, while my gadgets recharge in assorted corners of our hotel room. We’re at the Doubletree in Mission Valley, a nice hotel that just happened to have a University of Hawaii Travel Industry Management graduate at the front desk. And he’s going to Comic Con too, albeit just on Friday. Nice guy. His family is from Ewa Beach.

I’m glad I sprung for this hotel rather than a couple of others that were closer to the Convention Center but of decidedly lower star ratings. It’s no Mandarin Oriental, but it’s clean, cozy, and little touches — like a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie handed over with your room key — made a good impression on a hungry Jen. Of course, they get high marks from me simply for arranging early check in for us with one breathless airport phone call. Rather than loitering in the lobby with our luggage until 3 p.m., we can grab a shower and a nap in a big, cool, fluffy king-size bed.

So far, so good. Since arriving in California, the virtual welcome wagon has turned out in force, with an early phone call from Ralph of “The Dharmalars” (kindly offering any advice or help should we need it), plenty of greetings and well wishes from several Twitter contacts, and text messages from other friends, including Jay of “The Jay and Jack Show.” We’re hoping to meet up with him and Jack this evening, finally, after over two years of near misses in the “LOST” fan space.

Of course, Jay and Jack are traveling with their posse, which will include their friend Clif and Colleen and John (from “Metrobuzz“)… again, all great folks we look forward to meeting.

So far, no one knows when we can start picking up our badges at the Convention Center for “Preview Night.” It’ll be the least crowded hours on the massive expo floor… a floor that should include a DHARMA Initiative recruiting station. I told Jay I was thinking we’d be down there at 4 p.m. or so (doors open at 6 p.m.) at the latest. Since it’s 11 a.m. now, that should leave a fair amount of time to catch up on our sleep.

Especially since I don’t think we’ll get much during the rest of our time here in San Diego.

July 23, 2008 Posted by | Updates | , , , | 3 Comments

Oops

We’re in flight between LAX and SAN. Let’s see how this WordPress for iPhone handles a local draft to be published once we’re on the ground.

So! We missed our connecting. I wondered if Orbitz was cutting it close with 90 minutes between flights, but as we waited for the shuttle at the main Northwest terminal, things seemed fine.

We had missed the previous shuttle by seconds and were told to relax and eat and be back at 7:30.

We were. But the shuttle showed up at 7:40. Our flight was departing at 8:15. Hmm.

The shuttle sped across the Tarmac, and we reached a small terminal in less than five minutes. Except this was just a shuttle terminal. We got in another line. One said “Continental.” The other said “Skywest.” Our ticket said United. But we were put on the Continental shuttle.

At 8:10 we were at the main Continental terminal, gate 67 or so. We needed to be at United’s terminal, gate 87.

Commence sprint.

Just as Jen was about to collapse, a cart wheeled by. We hopped on and were delivered right to the gate at 8:15.

The flight was closed. We had to catch the next one. Fortunately, that was in 45 minutes. I guess LAX-SAN routes run like buses. We caught our breath.

Jen got a little weepy over the kids, but it was too early to call. I did call the hotel, though, and got early check-in. I was thinking we’d wander Mission Valley this afternoon, but now I think our plan is to get at least a few winks. The fun starts tonight with Preview Night.

We’re on an EMB120 Brasilia, a small turboprop that carries maybe 30 people. We boarded from the tarmac, and it was like climbung into a little rowboat surrounded by ocean liners. I was a bit nervous, but, so far, so good.

The attendant on this flight polled foe Comic-Con attendees. Maybe half of us. I think two other couples also missed that first flight to SAN. We’ll have to leave more leeway on the return trip.

Landing!

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | Updates | , , | 3 Comments

More Waiting

Uneventful flight. We got seats next to the lavatories but survived. Tried to sleep most of the way with middling success. Saw the start of “Nim’s Island” and the end of “Run Fat Boy Run.” Came into LAX at sunrise. But there was a thick, unbroken carpet of clouds. Once through it, the infamous smog was everywhere.

Now on the shuttle to the American Eagle terminal. Reminds me of “Speed,” racing between planes like this.

Had breakfast at Burger King. $8 combo meal. The cashier saw our shock and deadpanned, “Welcome to LAX.”

Our next flight into SAN is on a small plane. I’m a bit nervous.

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Waiting

We left for the airport at 8 p.m., the kids’ usual bedtime. HPD was out in force, but we were in no hurry. The farewells at the curb were tough. The boys were bawling. Katie was red eyed and trembling, but playing it tough. We’ll miss them terribly.

Ag scan was quick. Line to check in luggage was long but kept moving. NWA was processing flights to Seattle and San Fran at the same time.

TSA was no picnic, but surprisingly smooth. The pass checker was even chatty and wanted to talk about blogging (I’m wearing my Hawaii Blog shirt). And my gadget bag, for the first time, didn’t even get flagged for secondary screening.

So, an hour after we left Mililani, we were here, at Gate 16. Orbitz.com even robicalled to tell me everything was on time. So now we wait. Departure in 90 minutes.

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July 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Minute

I’m at the Apple Store. The day before our flight I learn my MacBook battery has 42% health after only 92 cycles. The iStat widget told me so. After a full calibration and a PMU reset, nothing improved. Of course, I never run my laptop off battery so I didn’t notice it barely held a charge.

Made a 9 am appointment at the Ala Moana Apple Store. Drove into town. Discovered I’d made the appointment fir tomorrow. D’oh!

Thankfully, Apple Camp was in session, doors were open early, and Dorothy and Genius Dan squeezed me in. Got a new battery and off to buy some jeans (San Diego may be a bit cool for cargo shorts… the only thing I have apart from dress slacks).

Oh. And iPhone 3Gs are sold out.

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July 22, 2008 Posted by | Updates | , , , | Leave a comment