I went to Chicago TARDIS 2013 this year, after having missed going to Chicago TARDIS 2012. This being the weekend after the 50th Anniversary, I was determined to make this convention.
This year things were interesting, in that I flew out of Manhattan at 7:05am, arriving in Chicago around 9am. Fortunately, I didn't have any trouble being able to check in right away when I arrived at the hotel. It was kind of strange being picked up and riding alone in a stretched limo. But, I guess its what was available when I showed up, and nobody else was making a similar trip around that time. I had booked shared ride service from Windy City Limos, like I had the previous two Chicago TARDISes. Return trip was in black sedan. I had also booked Black Car in Manhattan for the ride to and from the airport.
While getting settled in the hotel room, before heading down to see about lunch....I discovered to my horror that I the charger for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 was not among my luggage. I did have a couple of what should be fully charged battery packs, but they would not last the weekend.
I later spent some time researching local options on what to do....I settled on the possibility of experiencing Target on Black Friday, where they were featuring the Nikon Coolpix L320 for $99.99 or the Nikon Coolpix L820 for $199.99. I was leaning towards the L320, since this wasn't likely to become one of my regular cameras, so price was a big factor. Alternatively was to see if they carried extra chargers for my camera, since they carried the Panasonic FZ70K....though I later found out that it wasn't the same battery. They had this camera on sale for $299.99, IIRC. Also the Coolpix L320 or L820 had the advantage to me that they took AA batteries (4).
I knew Target was going to be one of the stores opening Thursday night for Black Friday....though I wasn't sure when I would make the dash to try to salvage my trip.
Later on Thursday night, after getting my badge and then checking out the reception (when I saw other people heading the same way, but continue out across to Target.) After getting some food and drink, making a loop around the space, I decided that I would make a dash over to Target and see what's what.
It was chaos in Target, the electronics/cameras counter was pretty much inaccessible since everybody there was after iPad's of various models and sizes. I wandered around a bit to see if things might settle down as they started reporting certain iPads were now out of stock. Occurred to me that I should see about some cheaper water for use in the hotel room, but they didn't have any small packs of still purified or spring water available, so I got a 6 pack of flavored water. Guess I could do that instead of mixing Crystal Light to go with my medication.... As I walked back, I noticed that one of the end of aisle displays was full over Nikon Coolpix L320's. Since that was the most likely candidate if I was going to buy a camera for salvage the trip....its what I got.
It then took forever to snake out from one opposite corner of store to the other to check out. I had intentionally brought my Target Red card this trip, which I otherwise usually leave at home when I travel. Plus I hadn't shopped at Target for a while, in anticipation of this possibility I would later make another trip, to get refill pages for the album that I keep the purchased photos and such I get at Chicago TARDIS, and a bottle of shampoo as the hotel shampoo was bothering my scalp.....
I knew I had an 8 pack of Lithium Photo AA's in my luggage. I went back to my hotel room and unpacked the new camera and spent sometime getting familiar with it (using the included AA batteries.) Since I had owned Nikon Coolpix cameras before...namely the Coolpix S80 (Much earlier on there was a Coolpix 5500, but I don't recall what it was like anymore), I found the menus and such largely familiar, so I tweaked up some settings to fit the kind of shooting I was going to do this weekend. And, set up to give it a test.
The reception was still going on, so I went back in and shot some pictures around the room to get a feel for its controls and behavior. And, downed some more snackage before calling it a night.
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So, I went to another Chicago TARDIS. I originally didn't think I was going to go this year, so I didn't preregister at 2010. But, later when they announced Alex Kingston and Peter Davison as guests...I rushed online, and registered for a Reserved membership. As time went on, other guests were added, such as Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton. Though later I heard Alex Kingston had dropped out. Kind of sad.
I had tweeted wondering if the set of companions would complete, and Matthew Waterhouse would appear. Though how would that work with Tony Lee being a confirmed guest.
As it happened, the day before Thanksgiving...between entering the schedule into my work calendar and deciding that I should put it on my google calendar so that it would appear on my personal cellphone...Sarah Sutton couldn't make it. I don't know if I was disappointed or not, at that moment... but later I was.
So, this year...on Nov 18th, American Eagle added a new direct flight to Chicago. Before there was only the one 07:00->09:05 to Chicago and 19:30-21:15 from Chicago. Not a huge fan of coming in to Manhattan in the evening, since for some reason there's always trouble getting taxi to come get me at night...and the last few times the airport closes and kicks me out before the taxi finally shows up....over an hour after the flight had arrived too. The new flight of 12:40-14:40 to Chicago and 10:15-12:00 from Chicago.
This year I wanted to arrive closer to start of Thursday night activities, so I took the 12:40-14:40 flight to Chicago. This also meant that I could have Thanksgiving dinner in the hotel restaurant this year...instead of trying to get the most I can out of the free pizza at the All-Access/Reserved reception. 2009 I had prime rib, and 2010...well, I was too late...due to various issues, and not just because I came via DFW. Though I heard other people recalling the weather being more challenging last year. Also this year, I went with booking my transportation with Windy City Limos....there was a link from the hotel's site after I reserved the room to do this. There airport shuttle service turned out a whole lot better than the Go Airport Express service I had done in previous years, and didn't cost a whole lot more. First year was $61, second year was $57.20 (they offered me a coupon code...to 'repeat' the same ride, they offered it again this year). I kind of knew that I didn't want to do Go Airport Express again this year. Since, it was shortly after I booked that shuttle, that the credit card I used got jacked. And, I had to wait until after Chicago TARDIS 2010 to get my replacement card. It was part of the reason why I didn't preregister last year.
Going with Windy City Limos was really nice...a black sedan 'limo' where I was the only person going both ways....was quite nice. Even times when there were only a few people in the shuttles, it can't come close. Wonder how this'll impact my future travel needs....
So, arriving plenty early....just slightly before 3pm...but they let me check in right away. Though there seemed to be some question on what kind of room I had reserved, and if I wanted 1 king or 2 queens...or that 2 queens was more likely all that were available. I was sure that in my Starwood Preferred Guest profile, I had set 1 King. But, got 2 queens....on the 11th floor. (later saw Peter Davison trying to get an elevator from this floor....which apparently was the pre-cursor to his 'Aha!' going down later...)
Then set up in the room and wandered a bit, before finally going in and getting supper. I went with Yellowfin Tuna. Which now as I recall, I had had last year....perhaps I should've gone with the Salmon. I also ate good pretty much all through the convention using the hotel restaurant. Has made the adjustment back to home eating rather poor. Thinking I'm going to get a turkey just so that I can have the whole home experience with one anyways. Though think I need to make room in fridge for one.... perhaps I should plan to use other frozen items up first.
Debated whether I wanted to stand in line for reserved tickets at registration....but the crowd sucked me in...though no hassles this year, since I remembered to bring my form this year. Last year I hadn't, but they found me anyways...after showing them my id. I went up to room briefly to revise my schedule and then hit the reception.
A pretty good reception this year....there was a strange pizza with chopped celery on it. And, it was pretty bad. During things...Janet Fielding and Peter Davison made visits to the tables, and that was nice. Other guests were kind of making rounds, but they didn't get to every table....eventually, I called it a night.
... Hmmm, was going to start many more pages of this...but no, I'm going to publish now, and write other entries later....that way I at least get some stuff out, despite many technical issues I ran into during and since the convetion....
Black Friday started early because of Amazon.com.
I had take Wednesday off from work, because I needed to. And, I had thought that I might need to use it to wait for UPS to show up. But, UPS hadn't showed up when I got home Tuesday night...and somewhere after 7pm they showed up with my delivery.
I took delivery of a Ricardo Beverly Hills Capistrano Lite Free Wheelers 29-inch Two Compartment Vertical Pullman, Iris Purple. Should complement the 21-inch version that I got for my trip to OLF. Plus I had tweeted that my old pullman was starting to look sad....
And, while I was waiting at home on Tuesday, I happened by Amazon.com, and saw that they were starting Black Friday already. They had the Leatherman Micra for $12.99. Don't know what its usual Amazon.com price, but it was lowered for a limited time (right now it shows up as $16.46).
It was very tempting, but at first I was going to resist. Even though I could use some new tool gadget in my pocket since I was missing. But, a quick look at my shopping cart and my wishlist, and my planned purchase list. I saw that I had down to get another Tea Wand as a present, but I hadn't actually ordered a new one yet. So, I added that to my cart and put that order through.
2-day Prime delivery would put that sometime on Friday. I didn't really want to venture out to the mall on Black Friday, so I went ahead and ordered it.
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