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mhaithaca
It's been a while since I've had conjunctivitis! Someone this weekend was talking about having pink-eye, though I can't remember who. Guess that's who I got it from, or it's just going around. My eyes were itchy and watery last night, and welded shut when I woke up this morning.

My boss is very big on not bringing contagious things to the office, so I stayed home, and even took her advice and went to the doctor. Instead of waiting it out, I've got some antibiotic eyedrops that should make me non-contagious by tomorrow afternoon. Yay!

Meantime, the dogs were delighted to have me home much of the day, other than the doctor's visit and some errands. We even got to sit out on the deck for a while. The next door neighbors have a dog who gets really whiny when she knows Penny and Carter are outside, which is cute but annoying. I think she just wants to play with them, as Penny often does when we pass other dogs. I'm not positive that Carter would do as well playing with everyone. He's probably too excitable.

Also, I should check the Crock-Pot before I go to sleep. It's got $48 worth of Piggery pork shoulder in it! I probably shouldn't have splurged on such expensive pork (for what should really be a pretty cheap cut) for carnitas, but I bet it'll be good.
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mhaithaca
Three years of Italian in college left me more or less fluent -- but that was a long time ago! I was pleased to see that much of the grammar and vocabulary came back to me pretty quickly.

Breakfast at the AirportEven pretty tired, with hardly any sleep on the plane, I was able to converse in Italian with the nice people at the great cafe on the way out of the airport. There was a breakfast service on the flight, and it was actually a delightful warm muffin and a couple of other random items, but I figured I'd need more than that to get me to lunchtime.

This was the €4.70 breakfast combo: a cappuccino, fresh orange juice, and a cornetto. (More or less a croissant, but a little breadier.) For €5 even, I could've had a chocolate cornetto instead, but I decided to stick with the basics. The euro isn't very strong right now, and the dollar is doing very well, so this was just a hair over $5. What would this cost at a Starbucks? $10?

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mhaithaca
Written on the plane last night...

The personal seatback screen on my flight to Venice just rebooted, along with a bunch of the rest of the screens I can see from my seat. In the middle of "Birdman." Not my seatmate's screen, though!

Before we left the gate, I had tried tapping the screen to see what it did, and when my seatmate who'd started off with halting English did the same, I said "Non fa niente," Italian for "It doesn't do anything." That's when I found out she's actually Slovenian, and not Italian, from a small city not far from Italy, I gather. We managed a little bit of conversation, some in Italian and some in English.

After a few error messages and multiple reboots, the Linux seatback display finally finished rebooting, and I was able to start "Birdman" over and fast-forward back to where I'd left off. Excellent movie!

Also, getting up and going to the bathroom with the airline earphones plugged into the armrest is a bad idea. When I sat back down, I sheared them off at the tip! Oh well. I had an old pair of airline-provided earphones in my laptop bag, and plugged those in to finish the movie.

The plane has USB ports in every armrest, ostensibly for charging phones, etc., but they made an announcement early in the flight that there was work being done on that system, so the ports weren't powered. Weird. I guess we have to trust that the condition of the various "non-essential systems" doesn't reflect the preparedness of the rest of the aircraft. :-)

It's a little after 10pm, a little after 4am Venice time, and we're arriving at about 9am, so I should probably try to sleep for a few hours.

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mhaithaca
I think the dogs were a little weirded out by all of my running around yesterday. Laundry, errands, packing... and I think I got everything done and have everything with me that I need! Guess we'll find out.

I'm definitely out of practice at this. I remembered to take off my shoes and jacket, take the laptop and iPad out of the bag and put them in a bin, and headed to the metal detector with my cell phone still clipped to my belt. Oops! It's really weird to think that the last time I flew is nearly three years ago, Labor Day weekend 2012.

The offer to volunteer to give up my seat on this oversold ITH-PHL flight for a $425 travel voucher was tempting, but I just don't have enough flexibility in my schedule, despite the long layover in Philadelphia. Full flights today all around, it looks like.

I actually could arrive much later Monday in Venice without missing much, but still no. Have done very well giving up my seat on return trips in the past. Nice hotel rooms, nice drinks and meals courtesy of the airline, and nice first class upgrades a couple of times. AND hundreds of dollars towards future travel.

That's how I got to hang out with the Upgrd crew three years ago this month (!) while unemployed. Used a Delta voucher right before it expired from volunteering on the way back from the Frozen Four the previous April.
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mhaithaca
I was musing aloud the other day that I couldn't imagine how I'd fly to Toronto even if I wanted to. Well, one of the guest speakers at last night's Cornell Sesquicentennial event mentioned in her talk that she'd flown from Ithaca!

So, I just looked it up. You can indeed fly from Ithaca to Philadelphia to Toronto on US Airways, or Ithaca to Newark to Toronto on United. The absolute shortest of those is three hours and 15 minutes from take-off in Ithaca to arrival in Toronto, and that assumes everything's running smoothly and you don't get stuck in Philadelphia. My drive yesterday was five hours door-to-door, and probably cost $50 between gas and tolls, compared to $900 or so, at minimum, for those flights.

There is a direct flight from Syracuse to Toronto, so I suppose it's plausible to drive to Syracuse (a little over an hour) to fly up, but those Air Canada airfares all appear to be well north of $1,000.

I should have offered her a ride. :-)
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mhaithaca
Tomorrow, I'm driving up to Toronto for a Cornell Sesquicentennial event, and coming back Friday after having lunch with dblaser_ca and Deb. My father actually seemed surprised when he first heard about the trip that I wasn't flying, since they've flown when they've visited Canada. I think.

I can't imagine how I'd fly to Toronto. There might be a short-hop flight from Syracuse or Rochester, but it's a really short hop. It's only a slightly longer drive than when I visit my parents in Dobbs Ferry, though, a little over four hours instead of a little under.

But I am flying when I go to Italy. Flying out of Ithaca, in fact, which is also surprising to some, my father included. No, I am not driving five hours to JFK and paying ludicrous parking rates to fly to Italy. :-) The airfare isn't even more expensive. So there.

I think it's actually going to be my first time flying since 2012, though. I flew twice that year, to California in April for the upgrd.com travel-blogger get-together (and to see helianthas and others), and to Georgia for Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend. Free ticket on Delta to California thanks to the voucher I got the previous spring letting them bump me from a flight. Don't recall if I got a free ticket on miles or a cheap one to Atlanta. Am I missing any flights since then? I don't think so.
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mhaithaca
Got an e-mail this morning from an HR type warning me that I had accrued so much vacation time that if I didn't start using it, I was going to lose some in October.

That reflects the general fact that I don't take a huge amount of vacation time, but also the specific situation that for the last three years I've really taken far fewer weekend road trips than I used to. Just one con since I started the new job (Dragon*Con, since I'd already paid for the ticket, I think, and had enough points for a free room, if I recall correctly) and far fewer hockey road trips than I used to take.

Part of that is adopting a dog a year and a half ago. I can't just up and drive to New England or Albany or wherever for a couple of hockey games. And part of it has been not being in a position to spend the money.

The good news is that I already have several vacation days planned over the next several weeks, including a road trip to Toronto for an alumni event, and the lady who e-mailed this morning confirmed that, after I use those, I'm safe.
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mhaithaca
After two and a half years, I figured out what was broken about the 14850 Dining Podcast, and fixed it.

It's now updating successfully in iTunes, if you subscribe. The iTunes web page and the page in the iTunes Store are still showing the podcast as of two and a half years ago, but should update within several hours, or perhaps a day or two.

If you have any interest in food and dining, please take a look. Lots of what's there is Ithaca-specific, but some isn't. If you're interested in subscribing, please do, and if you're willing to provide a nice review and rating, I'd appreciate it!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/14850-dining-podcast/id351214596
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mhaithaca
Local heating company is coming tomorrow morning before work to do some serving and cleaning on the furnace. I felt pretty clever finding the reset switch a few months ago that let me get it back up and running when it would randomly stop, but the last few days it has needed resetting several times. We may only have a few days left this season of weather cold enough that I need heat, but I shouldn't put off getting it fixed any longer!

My bet is it mostly just needs to be cleaned. I've had very little servicing done on the thing since I bought the house, so it probably deserves to be cranky.

Needless to say, having a pair of pit bulls also helps me worry less about cold weather! They make very good bed-warmers. In fact, I had three last night, since Gloria spent the night here so her person could get a good night's sleep before her first day at a new job. They all want to be on the bed, and three pit bulls and me in one bed -- even a queen bed -- is a neat trick.
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mhaithaca
One of my favorite moments with Leonard Nimoy was seeing him at Dragon*Con in 2009. He was scheduled for a session on the last day of the con, and was on stage with a panelist who asked all the questions. (You don't let random con attendees stand at microphones to ask Leonard Nimoy random questions. You just don't.)

Midway through the session, he was joined on stage by William Shatner, who had also been at the con but hadn't been able to stay beyond the first day, making a surprise re-appearance.

The two of them, who've legitimately been close friends for fifty years, had an incredible conversation in front of us. The panel moderator wisely sat quietly and watched, as we did.

Nimoy & Shatner
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