Thursday, July 19, 2007

Everything That Could Go Wrong . . .

. . . did.

In which our hero finds himself on an Indian reservation without an Internet connection and speaks to an Indian with reservations 5,000 miles away. There was good news and bad news:

Good news: On Monday, the GeneaBlogie research staff got a few hours' extra sleep.
Bad news: The reason we got some extra sleep was that the Coast Starlight was running four hours late.
Bad news: A component of our technology to allow us to live-blog from the train went missing.
Good news: Because of the delay catching the train, we had time to shop a couple of national chain electronics stores to replace the missing component.
Bad news: None of the stores had what we needed. In fact, the one store that should have had it if any did, referred me to the in-store rep of a third party service provider that we use who tried to convince me that there was no such thing.
Good news: The Coast Starlight arrived and we had a great trip to Los Angeles down the California coast. We saw sea lions in an estuary off Monterey Bay and light fog over the golden hills above San Luis Obispo.
Bad news: We arrived in L.A. at 1 a.m. and went to stay at the Comfort Inn City Center, 1710 West Seventh Street, a place so bad it merits its own Bad News.
Hotel Bad News: It was a hot night in Los Angeles, but the hotel had no ice. Nor was there anything in the soda vending machines. The night auditor said the soda vendor was a week overdue! (Smells like breach of contract to me. "Liquidated damages," no doubt. [That's a little lawyer pun!]). I spotted a cockroach.
Good News: The next day, Tuesday, we got out of the pit of a hotel early and had lunch in Pasadena with nephew Christopher Penny and his fiance Melissa Berrios. We went to a place called The Yard House in a mall called Paseo Coronado (or may be it was Paseo Colorado). Great food! As we were headed to the parking garage after lunch, I noticed a vendor with a little cart in the mall. And on the cart was the very component I needed to make our technology work! I purchased it and was again a happy camper!
Good News: We boarded to Southwest Chief at about 6:45 p.m. and headed east. Had a great meal in the dining car. Slept well.
Bad news: In the morning, I configured our technology and was ready to blog. And the Internet Service Provider (not our usual one) was down! I spoke to "Carol" in Mumbai from the middle of the high desert around Gqllup, New Mexico (the so-called "Indian Capital."). "Carol" kept saying "I am so sorry." In fact she began every sentence with "I am sorry." Eventually, Carol said, "I am so sorry, but you should have service by the next morning." She signed off with "I am so sorry I was able to help you."
Good News: The train ran better than on time, arriving in Albuquerque more than an hour early. Albuquerque is one of my three "hometowns", and there was time to get off the train and have a look around.
Bad News: The next morning, there was not a lot of time because we would be arriving in Kansas City. I tried the ISP to no avail because the computer was not recognizing its modem, although it had done so the day before.
Good News: The train continued to run on schedule and we got to Kansas City on time. We have a five hour layover before the train to St Louis.
Good News: I fired up the computer in the Amtrak waiting room at Kansas City Union station, and, lo and behold! The computer is telling me that it connecting to a network called Free Public WiFi! Hallelujah!
Bad News: Although the computer is indicating that it is connected to the network and the signal strength is good and it's acquired the proper IP address, I get bupkes from the browser.

Good News: I found another network called Union Station and now you're reading this! Keep your fingers crossed for more Good News.


Jasia said...

Oh Craig, I'm so sorry to hear about your mishaps and misfortunes! But I have to say thank you for keeping your sense of humor and sharing it with us. I needed something to smile about today.

George Geder said...

Excellent & crazy reportage!
I love it; keep it coming.

BTW, what is bupkes?

"Guided by the Ancestors"

Craig Manson said...



Part of Speech: n
Definition: absolutely nothing; something worthless; also written bupkis, bubkes, bupkus

Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7)
Copyright © 2003-2007 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC