Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some Good Stories

Well as you may have gathered from my lack of a post over the weekend, my performance was... mediocre. Of the 8 rounds of competition on Saturday I won 4 and lost 4. I finished #44 out of 76, which means that my opponents were weaker than average. But it was one of those situations where I can take comfort in the mutual suffering of others. Also finishing with a 4-4 record was the #1 player in the world (36 out of 76), the #2 player in the world (41 out of 76) and the #6 player in the world (45 out of 76). So as you can see lots of people were having a rough tournament. But I'm getting ahead of myself I really should do this chronologically.

As I mentioned on Thursday I was taking the redeye in that night. As soon as I got on the plane I balled up my fleece jacket to make a pillow and put my hat over my head. By starting early and doggedly focusing on pretending to be asleep I would say that I managed to sleep through about 80% of the flight, only waking up near the end when my left ear refused to pop and it felt like a very long, very sharp thorn was piercing my brain and a few times in the middle. One of those times I was awakened by a hand coming through the window side of the seat. It was the hand of a child sleeping in the seat behind me. So I tried telling him to move it, then I tried gently moving it back, but he was obviously comatose and time after time I would move it back behind my seat only to have it flop forward again and hit the back of my arm. I'm not sure how I eventually got the kid to stop, but I do remember being relieved to find the child unharmed when we finally landed in JFK.

We had the hotel room on Thursday so we were able to go straight there and crash, which was nice, although we had to switch rooms during the middle of the day because we'd requested a room with two beds and we started out in a room that only had one. I was a little panicked because I didn't have a ticket for the dreamblade events. The conventions I'm used to attending allow you (some may say the require you) to sign up in advance. So I was determined to go down to the convention center and figure out what I needed to do to get into the 10k the next day. My friend had told me that it was about a 15 minute walk, looking at the directions it was apparent it was going to be closer to 30, but I was optimistic. So I set off, I suppose if I had realized that I was going to have to basically walk from the east side of Manhattan to the west side I might have been more eager to figure out how the busses worked.

The walk wasn't that bad, the run-around I got once I arrived at the convention center was what was really annoying, but eventually I did figure out that I had to enter the exhibit hall before I could get the info I needed. The exhibit hall was going to be opened to normal (non-press, non-professional) badge holders at 4:00 pm when I found this out it was around 3:15 so I figured I'd grab something to eat come back and walk right in. I knew there was a line I just didn't think (based on my experiences at other conventions) that once the doors opened it would take long for the line to be gone. I was about to discover how wrong I was, and uncover the major failing of the entire convention. When I returned around 4:10, not only was there still a line, but it was a long line stretching down some stairs back and forth through some temporary barricades out the door down one side of the convention center and then back up that same side on the street level. After waiting 15 minutes for the line to dissapate and discovering that it was basically staying the same length I got into the line and after 30 minutes of queueing finally got in and was able to find out that I would have to sign up for the 10k tomorrow morning... So not exactly the most productive outing I've ever taken.

That night me and my two friends from Salt Lake went out for dinner with a Venture Capitalist we were in town to meet. We went to an Italian place and ordered a family style dinner which basically consists of them bringing out plate after plate of food until finally you beg for mercy. But this, at least, despite my distended stomach was very productive, and in fact from a business side of things, it's hard to imagine the weekend going much better. Anyway I went home to get some sleep before the 10k while the rest of them went out bar-hopping. This was also the beginning of another (somewhat lesser) problem. My friends ended up being awake whenever I was asleep and asleep whenever I was awake.

For some reason my estimation of how big the line would be Saturday morning was based on the size of the line Friday afternoon. I figured it would once again take me about 30 minutes to get through the line, I doubled that and decided I needed to show up at 10 am if I wanted to make the 11 am start time. As it turns out I was horribly wrong. At this point I refer you to a map of the area around the convention center. The line once again started inside the building, down the stairs, back and forth through temporary barriers, out the east side, south around the corner, along the building down to 12th ave back up the hill along 34th street, up 11th Ave., down 11th Ave to 40th street and back down to the river. It took me 10 minutes from arriving just to make it to the back of the line. And an hour and 20 minutes before I got to the gaming hall, so I was late, but so was everyone else so they pushed it back an hour.

As far as the actual 10k, I've already covered a lot of that, but I should mention that I had a good time, I was somewhat despondent when I was at 1-2, felt pretty good when I rallied to 3-2 and then sanquine by the time I finished at 4-4. Other than meeting some cool people and having some exciting games the most interesting story involved the coat check. I realized about halfway through the tournament that it was probably going to run long, and I figured that with my luck the coat check would be closed by the time I was done and I would have to walk home through the bitter Manhattan winter in my short sleeve polo. As a matter of fact the coat check had closed by the time the tournament was done, but by doggedly moving from one security guard to another I eventually managed to get someone who had a key to where they had moved the coats.

The next day I entered the 1k. More to get the Dreamblade duffle bag and the other swag. I thought about running another warband I had with me, but I really wanted to play the the original warband some more and see what I could make of it. I did have a really good 2nd game against the #3 player in the world. It ended up going to 6-5 and I think if I'd rolled a little bit better I might have pulled it out. In any case I dropped before the end because I hadn't seen the con at all and I was meeting some friends I have in New York for an early dinner. Which leads me to the next story...

So my friend told me to take the #6 to Bleeker Street and then take the F to Delancy. This all went off basically without a hitch (okay the initial subway station was on broadway not Lexington, but that was no big deal). After a really great dinner we parted ways and I tried to retrace my steps. On the way down Delancy was two stops from the Bleeker transfer, on the way back the second stop was Broadway and Layfette, momentarily frozen with panic I didn't get off, by the next stop it was apparent that Bleeker street wasn't coming, so I got off and looked at the subway map. It turns ot that going uptown it's a different stop then downtown. So I got back on the subway and rode back one stop, but it turns out that you can't transfer to uptown from that station, the sign said you had to ride the route to the end and then you could turn around and head uptown. Finally I found someone who told me the uptown stop was really close, just not connected. Since I had an all day pass it was no big deal, but I still had to find this other station once I emerged from underground in the dark and the fog. Fortunately every time I asked for help (and even when I didn't, which will become apparent later) New Yorkers were unfailingly courteous, so I eventually made it back.

Finally on Monday I slept in a little and then walked to Rockefeller Center to meet up with my New York friend again and have lunch. I had gone the entire trip without getting a call from work and I was optimistic that it would be the first trip without a crisis at work. Such was not to be. I got a call from work that the web search server was down. I tried everything I could think of over the phone and eventually I had to remote in from my friends work and look at the server. Even then I was only able to determine that it was an issue they were going to have to go to the vendor with. It eventually turned on that a core config file on the server had been emptied. It was blank. I still am trying to figure out how that happened, but once we restored from backup the server started working again.

From Rockefeller I took the subway down to the WTC site. There was less there than I thought (in terms of a memorial) but it was still very powerful. Across the street was St. Pauls Chapel, built in 1766. George Washington's church during the time the capital was in New York. It had an old graveyard on the grounds which I always enjoy walking through, but the most gut wrenching story was about how the firefighters would hang their civilian boots on the fence of the church and chang into their firefighting equipment. Boots that remained on the fence on September 12 meant the firefighter hadn't made it, and they became testimonials to their sacrifice...

After going to the WTC I still had some time to kill so I thought I'd walk from the Museum of Natural History to the Met, west to east across Central Park. It turns out there was a road that did just that but it mostly was below ground level so I really couldn't see anything, and it was kind of a sloppy mess. I didn't mind too much though I was kind of in a hurry, because my friends wanted to meet up for dinner before we had to go to the airport. As I was walking along a bus stopped, the driver said "Get in." When I started to try and pull out my metro card he said, "Don't worry about it, just get in." So like I said, New Yorkers, at least in my limited experience are pretty nice. In any case after that we had dinner with the VC again, then went to the airport. I didn't sleep as much on the way back as the way there but I'll bet I still got two and a half hours in.

Anyway this went on longer than I expected, and it's now past my bedtime so I better wrap it up.

BTW I'm still sick


Anonymous john said...

Great stories, thanks for sharing.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous ed said...

Well, sounds like it was a good trip, overall. Better rolls next tourney.

11:11 PM  
Blogger aozora said...

Great stories, thanks.

4:39 AM  

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