The morning was devoted to breakfast and association business. The latter is, frankly, not something that particularly excites me, which left me free to explore the exhibition hall and the ins and outs of the wifi in the hotel.
One would think something like wifi would be pretty cut and dried in this day and age, especially when so many budget hotels offer wifi as part of one's stay. At this hotel (a Marriott), there are apparently different networks in the room and in the conference area, and the network in the conference area apparently only works in a part of that area, so I ended up just using the portable hotspot that's part of my Verizon service plan on my iPhone.
The sessions I attended today varied in subject matter, from the use of "politically correct" language in translations to a comparison of Russian and English words describing sounds. Tomorrow, the sessions I plan to attend have more to do with French than Russian.
The annual Slavic Division banquet was tonight, and it went well. The decision to hold it at a Tex-Mex restaurant was the right one to make, as the experience of previous years has shown that trying too hard to find a restaurant with a Slavic tie-in can very easily backfire.
I attended a presentation titled "A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps" this evening, presented at the Rienzi Mansion Museum in town. Very entertaining, and I came away with new insights into stamps, why I collect them, as well as what is involved in the art of storytelling.
Unfortunately, I sall have to Fermat these (look it up; hint: The Last Theorem), as I really want to go to sleep.
Unlike Fermat, however, I intend to revisit these subjects (or most of them, at least).
What came to mind today was an incident that happened while I was playing catcher. An opposing batter hit the ball a fair distance, requiring the outfield to give chase to the ball. By the time the ball was thrown in to the shortstop, the batter had rounded third base and was heading toward home plate.
I caught the shortstop's throw with time to spare, had taken a couple of steps down the third base line, and was reaching out to tag the runner out when he did something that took me completely by surprise. He tried to bowl me over.
Despite my surprise—and despite the fact that the runner and I were of comparable size—something in my posture "rooted" me to the ground, and the result was that the runner pretty much bounced off me and fell on his butt... and he was out!
That was perhaps the only time my teammates (who were my classmates during the school year) said anything favorable about my fielding. I remember that it felt good.
I also got through all but the last part of the first week's video units for "The Future of Storytelling" course mentioned in a previous post. The course asks a number of interesting questions that will give me food for thought, methinks.
I actually sat for a while under the big tree in the corner of the yard for several minutes and didn't do a blessed thing. This, after Galina and I drove down to Galveston on a whim (for the first time since two Labor Days ago).
Translations are done but not despeckled. Equipment has been repaired. Some stuff has been moved in the garage.
All of which is well and good, but I will not feel bad if work arrives tomorrow morning.
...and not enough hours for a tally to come down convincingly on one side or another.
Probably the toughest nut to crack was getting a dhcp server up and running on a Raspberry Pi, and while I can connect to the server, I cannot do much else. I suspect a DNS issue is at the root of my travails.
In terms of weather, it was a very nice day. The temperature was crisp, and the heavens held their piece.
So I read where Windows 8.1 has become available, that it's a free upgrade for current users of Windows 8, and that it's an improvement over Windows 8 (not hard to believe at all, except that it's coming from Microsoft). So I head on over to the Start screen, which I have configured to basically never show up, and click on the Microsoft Store. The tile goes full screen for a moment and then reverts to its original size. Nothing happens. I try this again, and the same thing happens. That's probably a good sign, but does not advance me toward my goal.
Rather than explain all of the steps I went through to find a solution, I'll cut to the chase and note that after about 40 minutes of research, I catch an almost throwaway reference to the fact that you can't run the Microsoft Store from an Administrator account, and while my default account is not Administrator, my account does have Administrator privileges (sometimes). So I fired up my 'ghost' account (the one I use if I need to run two instances of programs that insist on opening new files inside of a single instance and therefore make it hard to do an eyeball comparison of file contents) because I know it has not Administrator privileges, and the Store opens up with no problem at all.
Would it have killed anyone at Microsoft to have the application throw up an error message to the effect of "Accounts with Administrator privileges cannot run the Store app"?
While the upgrade is downloading, I go looking for a suitable Android Twitter app, and decide that something called Falcon Pro might just fit the bill. Unfortunately, while the app is "available," it would appear that Twitter has this, um, feature that limits the number of people who can use a particular app, and apparently Falcon Pro is so popular, it ran up against this limit a long time ago.
It turns out the workaround for this is to register with Twitter as a developer of an application that interacts with the service. Doing so creates some unique identifiers, which apparently can then be used with Falcon Pro to get around the limitation. In the end, I ended up with a working copy of the app; now, I just have to come up with a good use for Twitter.
As far as other areas are concerned, progress is slow. Something did come of the files promised for yesterday, but the result fell far short of the promised flood. It seems to me this is going to be a good time to sharpen the saw.
Loss of power steering, an engine light, and loss of "pick-up" going up the driveway convinced me it would not be a good idea to pack the car and head off for Houston today. Instead, the car is in the shop, probably too old (1993 model year) for a computer diagnostic, and in line behind several other vehicles before a mechanic can look at it.
So I've borrowed Drew's car while he's working and am at The Higher Grounds coffee shop for a cup of java and the free wifi.
It's raining. It's not the kind of omnipresent rain that leaves no doubt that it's raining just as hard, say, downtown. Instead, the sky is largely blue, with white clouds in the distance and darker splotches scudding overhead, dropping their wet payload.
In a way, it's probably well that I'm idle. I think I've been pushing myself a little too hard the past few days.
I missed posting yesterday because I spent pretty much the entire day driving from Houston (starting at about 4 am Central Time) to Pagosa, arriving around 8 pm Mountain Time.
Slept pretty well, let me tell you.
Took advantage of the holiday to go mushrooming in a new place with Drew and Mathew. The "catch of the day" was about a kilo of lobster mushrooms, although we saw a number of other interesting specimens, too. Dinner was at a new place in town, an Italian place called Marconi's, which occupies the space formally occupied by an Italian joint called Bocce's. I am told the management has changed.
I've called the tenants to let them know I'm in town. I am mulling over whether to spend the night in the basement of the house (as allowed by the lease) or to spend a second night here. I am leaning toward the latter, as it's been some time since I've spent any time with Drew and his family.
After a restful evening, I took care of some last-minute details, and then Alla and I took off for one of the many Auchan superstores that dot the landscape around here (the store name is rendered as Ашан, in Russian, i.e., Ashan). Years ago, two such stores opened in Houston, but they did not enjoy sufficient commercial success and both closed. I found that pretty unusual because the stores had a certain Wal-Mart look-and-feel, but with what seemed to be a better assortment of goods.
Anyway, it took a subway ride and a "route taxi" to get us to the store (indirectly imposing certain size and weight limits on what we could buy, overall). The Auchan we visited was probably the anchor store of the mall we were in, but there were plenty of other stores doing business there as well.
My one good deed of the day occurred as I followed a young fellow bringing a "stack" of shopping carts from the lower level to the store level. It seems a young Russian woman was giving him a piece of her mind about what she thought of his work ethic, and was doing so in a loud voice. Myself, I had been too late to be among those lucky enough to grab one of the carts he had brought up on his previous trip, so I followed him down and then back up—I could not get in front of this guy—and got an ear full from the Russian yuppie as she yelled at the kid. When he answered her in roughly the same tone, she then escalated her volume and demanded that this... this... example of Dagestani trash not raise his voice to her.
In keeping with Mark Twain's rule about teaching pigs to sing (a waste of time and it annoys the pig), I merely lodged a complaint with the store management, about some crazy woman wearing such-and-so who seemed to get off an abusing their employees, and put in a good word for the kid.
After returning home, we had a nice dinner while watching the second half of the recent Casing Royale with Daniel Craig.
The i's are dotted, and the t's are crossed. (Someday, I shall have to identify the analogous Russian expression.) I have been given a printout describing what was done, what was found, and what has been suggested.
All of my belongings are packed (there are hardly any to speak of), and I am currently waiting for Alla to come by and pick me up. As kind, friendly, and knowledgeable as the folks around here are, I am definitely wired to warp out of here.