Looks like I’m in Kansas now

June 27, 2011

So, let’s see. The flight from Charlotte to Kansas City went okay – had my carry-on bag taken as checked luggage because I was in a late zone to board and the lady at the gate desk thought there wouldn’t be space in the overhead compartments. Ended up switching to the aisle seat because a couple had booked seats that were on either side of my original spot, and that worked out pretty well. Kept reading workshop stories off the Kindle for most of the trip, except when the ‘no electronic devices’ sign was on, when I read Harry Potter.

I called the Ground Transport people while the plane was taxi-ing up the gate to let them know that I was arriving, but hung up while the guy was still looking up my details, because I didn’t want to spend more than one ‘roaming minute’ on the call – they’re pricy enough as they are! It turns out that someone tried to call me back, and I didn’t hear the phone buzzing, but more on that later.

So, I waited a bit impatiently for my chance to rush off the plane with my laptop bag, just because I was excited, even though I suspected that I’d be waiting for a long time at baggage claim, which I was.

But eventually the medium-sized Royal blue suitcase that I’d checked in Buffalo came out, and then the matching carry-on. I put on my sunglasses, dropped the glasses case with my regular glasses, picked it up again, headed out towards the door, and nearly passed a large African-American gentleman asking a woman, “Are you by any chance Chris?”

So I turned and introduced myself, and sure enough, he was my towncar driver, and led me over to where he’d had to park, a little ways from the baggage carousel. We got the bags in the trunk, me with the laptop case in the back seat, and I went to switch from the prescription sunglasses back to the ordinary glasses.

Uh-oh! Something wasn’t right with the glasses. It turned out that somehow the left lens had popped out without disturbing the frame, which was a new one on me. I tried to pop it in a few times during the hour-long drive to Lawrence, then gave it up, spent some time chatting with the driver, and read more from “Sergeant Chip” on the Kindle – that’s a professional story that we’re going to be reading and discussing on Friday.

The driver dropped me off right outside Templin Hall,  got my signature, and I brought the suitcases up to the doors. Some people who were hanging out in the lobby let me in, and I headed up to the third floor in the elevator, and found the welcome workshop party in full swing. Met the workshop leaders, a few of my fellow short fiction workshoppers, had pizza and a can of diet orange pop. At around that point, I decided that I should head over to Lewis Hall and get myself checked into the residence room.

That went well enough, the girl behind the desk found my name, gave me the little envelope with the key-card for the residence front doors and a room key. Once I’d got back to Templin, I’d stowed the envelope and forgotten the room number, but when I dug the envelope and checked the room number, it turned out to be for a room that was already fully occupied.

So a larger group of us headed back to Lewis – Chris M, the short fiction workshop leader, one of the people who’d already moved into the room, (it was a married couple, so the husband decided to come,) and a workshop alum who was hanging around as a facilitator this year. Chris M also called Lydia, who was the person who’d taken all the applications online and made all the room assignments, but wasn’t around working on a Sunday evening.

It took a while to sort that out, and I ended up sitting over in the Lewis lobby and talking with the facilitator guy, who’s also been a Nanowrimo participant. Eventually I got moved into a suite that could take four at a pinch and had only one British man in it so far, so now we’ve each got a bunk bed room to ourselves, and are sharing a bathroom.

So what else? I got unpacked, including the box that I mailed to myself weeks ago, found out that the sheets I bought at Zellers aren’t really the type I thought they were, but got them to work anyway. Registered and paid the high price for residence internet – tried to get my old wireless router to work, but I think that they’re not going to play nice together. One of the guys in our workshop was really counting on sharing wireless internet, especially having it available in our classroom, but I think I’m just as happy having the resnet via cable.

So I hung around a bit longer, listening to conversations more than participating, put myself to bed, woke up pretty early with the morning light outside my window. Now I’ve had some of the leftover pizza for breakfast, and showered, and the first full day is stretching before me.

I’m so excited – I can’t wait!

A mild airport wifi rant

June 26, 2011

I’m in the Charlotte airport, with about 45 minutes before my flight for Kansas City leaves. It’ll be boarding soon, but I might be a bit late for the boarding call.

I’ve been trying to get the wifi working for a few hours now, since we landed, and now it’s finally up. For a long time, I could connect to the CLTNET, but not actually get any internet from it, either DNS or anything else. I’m not sure if it just came up all over, or if the fact that I’m trying from this spot, near the plaza side of concourse C, is the key factor. I don’t much care.

I was a little frustrated by the fact that the general ‘business center’ in the plaza was closed and unattended (because it’s a Sunday afternoon?) and the only information kiosk was on the other side of the security checkpoint. I had no intention of going through the X-ray machines again just to ask a question, of someone who might not have an answer.

And the US Air club lounge definitely had internet, but would have made me pay $50 for the day pass. So that’s why I decided to try the wi-fi about as close outside the club lounge as I could find a seat.

I’ve found the local number for the town car company in Lawrence, which is the thing I really wanted to get online to check. And I’ve posted this little rant, and I might look for some info on how to get my sansa MP3 player to shuffle before I go.

Hmm… this hasn’t taken long so far. Maybe I’ll be nearly on time for boarding after all.

Kansas stories have been sent in!

June 13, 2011

So, yesterday afternoon I emailed off three stories to the other student writers for the CSSF workshop in Kansas. It was fun and a little giddy stuff, finishing my rewrite of Harry and Mars, and going over my critique tracking spreadsheets for both Landing and Harry.

The third story, ‘Survey’, on the other hand, I just dug up the most recent draft from last September, checked to make sure that the formatting looked good, and sent it off. It’ll be interesting to see if anybody notices a different between that story and the ones that I’ve put more work into revising recently.

This evening, I booked a town car service to take me from the Kansas City airport to the University in Lawrence. I’m flying in fairly late in the afternoon, none of the shuttle schedules look like a good fit, and I don’t want to have to wait around the airport, so I’ll be making the trip in affluent style. Woot!

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