i have been less than entertaining, i know, but for good reason. and now boys and girls, i will tell you my story. once long ago in a kingdom far far away, a kingdom called boston, i was writing a very important paper. we managed to finish that paper, entitled "a handle on what's going on: combining tangible interfaces and ambient display for distributed groups" and submit it to uist. then i said goodbye to my dear friends of boston, and this is when the pain begins...
i arrived at logan [airport] a little bit rushed, a little bit late, and went to the wrong ticket counter. although you might think that ATA has something to do with american airlines, it, in fact, does not. so there i was rushed, late, and at the wrong ticket counter. eventually i found my way to the right one, but when the woman was tagging my bag [and you know how i hate to check luggage] she only tagged it through to chicago. i was on my way to portland for a conference. so we had the following conversation:
me: you only checked my bag through to chicago.
her: i know.
me: but i am going to portland.
her: i know.
me: but i want my bag to go to portland.
her: you are switching airlines, we do the baggage transfer by hand.
me: but how will they know where to transfer it to?
her: <puts a generic tag on the bag that says "transfer to southwest"> there.
faced with this i had no choice but to get on my soon-to-depart plane. when i arrived in chicago, i left the terminal to go find my baggage. but for some reason, it wasn't on the baggage carousel. okay, fine, so then it was checked through, i think to myself, i shouldn't have been so judgmental at the ticket counter. regardless, the woman at the baggage claim office says they will keep an eye out for the bag. as i am reentering the terminal, i get selected out for "special screening." bummer. so after all of my baggage is rifled through, and i am thoroughly patted down and deemed safe, i get back to the terminal, and on a plane to portland.
surprise surprise, my bag is not in portland. when i go to baggage claim there, the woman laughs when i tell her the person in boston told me they transfer them by hand. this is not helping. she assures me they will find the bag and have it at the hotel tomorrow afternoon. i can live with that.
the next morning i wake up, borrow a tshirt from amanda [didn't people think we were alike enough already?], and go to the conference and present my workshop paper a little less fresh than i'd prefer. i get back to the hotel anticipating my bag, instead, i got a whole lotta nuthin'. i called the baggage claim people and they told me the bag had been found in chicago and sent out. but it never arrived in portland. great.
the next day, still no bag. so i go out, in yesterday's yesterday's clothes, to buy some underwear and a clean shirt. fantastic. but at least i feel cleaner by the time i get back and change. once again no bag all day, and when i get back home that night, i am told that they found the bag in phoenix in a "pile of NCAA luggage." what. ever. finally the bag arrives late at night and i have clothes for the next morning. if i had known i wouldn't have them, i wouldn't have bothered packing them.
saw lots of friends at the conferences, made a bunch of new ones, went out every night, blah blah blah, cut to the morning we are leaving. because i flew from boston, i am on a different flight back than everyone else to orange county. as i am going into the terminal i get "special screened" once again. now, it is printing out on my boarding passes to special screen me. what did i do wrong, america? so, after they really take apart all my stuff and give me the 3rd degree, they find my tiny swiss army knife in one of my bags. bear in mind that i have carried this knife with me on every flight i've taken in the past 4 years. no one has ever said a thing, so i figured it was fine. but okay, i can live with that. so i have to leave the terminal and check the knife in another bag in order to keep it. i put it in my messenger bag and drop it off at the baggage check in. i come back through security and they have to screen me AGAIN. cause clearly while i was gone for 5 minutes i picked up a couple of guns or whatever. argh. fine fine fine. it's on my boarding pass to be screened. they are doing their jobs and i understand.
but guess what, when i get back to orange county, my MESSENGER BAG IS NOT THERE. why? please. tell me. why? so finally i go home. trying to cope with all this crap, i am unpacking the luggage that i do have when i realize STUFF HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM IT. then i get a call saying my bag was found in san diego and was on its way back to orange county. i go to the airport that evening to pick it up. when i get there i inform the baggage claim dude that things have been taken from my luggage. we have the following conversation:
me: some stuff was taken from my luggage.
him: the TSA left you a note then, that something was seized.
me: it wasn't dangerous.
him: well it was if they seized it.
me: no, they took most of a set of acrylic juggling balls, and a bunch of dvds.
him: there must have been a note.
me: there was no note.
him: <getting uncomfortable> maybe they were misplaced while they were searching the bag. but they have to leave a note...
so yes, someone stole things from my bag, and i have to write a letter to someone in texas or some crap. i was about to start handling that when... i was sitting in a coffee shop with amanda and scott, working on my presentation for the in house conference at calit2 [the building where i work at uci]. when suddenly my computer just freezes. i reboot, my hard drive makes a pleasant grinding noise. and poof, that's all. my brand new powerbook's hard drive ate it. hard core. meanwhile my desktop is still damaged from when it was shipped here, and i haven't gotten the reimbursement from the postal insurance [it has bee 4 months now...]. so there i am, ms. computer science, with no computer.
my presentation and paper lost, my spirits defeated, i go home and decide, i will do the lowest-tech thing possible. i will read a book. not a book for work, just a book. the blind assassin, to be exact. so i am sitting in bed, with my trusty, relatively new, lifetime waranteed maglite, reading my book, when, suddenly, my maglite breaks. the world, it seems, is trying to tell me something. roxy, it's time to move to a deserted island.
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