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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Wow, this is interesting….Doctor Who only started in my area on May 9th, 1983….
Does that mean I became a Doctor Who fan almost as soon as it started for me?
Wonder when exactly The Talons of Weng-Chiang ran …
Seemed likes a good choice to test out my new Roku XDS.
I rated this 5 stars.
I only needed to scan one photo, and while I do have a Fujitsu ScanSnap 300M somewhere....its Mac only, and I don't own a Mac. I had acquired that scanner during Black Friday last year, not realizing that it was Mac only. It won't even work on Linux. I do occasionally use it, many for scanning receipts. As it was I haven't traveled on business since I got it, so haven't had to scan receipts for work. Though I have used it on occasion to scan receipts for FSA reimbursement.
I had intended at one time to have a Mac by now...but other priorities and emergencies have slipped in.
Anyways, while I was at Chicago Tardis, I got into the photo sessions with the actors from the Doctor Who movie, and with Naoko Mori (Toshiko on Torchwood). With the Doctor Who movie, I opted to use my own camera and let somebody snap it....big mistake. A pro knows that you shooting wide angle is wrong. I had zoomed camera to frame up me and the actors, etc. But, the guy taking the picture immediately fiddled with my settings and zoomed to full wide angle.
Also resulted in no flash. But, the picture did turn out.
With Naoko, there was an extra fee to get a picture done. The program guide said $35, regardless of whether it was done by them *OR* with my camera. Though at the time of the shot, I learned it was $20 to use my own camera...and that I could get either or both. But, I stayed with just the pro shot...though in retrospect, maybe I should've charged the $55 to have both. At least then I'd have an immediate digital copy and the matter of trying to get an 8x10 home undamaged wouldn't have been such a challenge. But, I managed.
But, then came how do I share that I had my picture taken with Naoko with friends and family? I think there was an option to order additional prints at the time of session, but that wasn't really the way to go...since its the Internet that connects me with friends and family...and in some cases the only thing that connects us.
Obviously a scanner is called for. There's scanners at work, though I'm not sure how well they are suited for photographs, and I didn't want to take the photo to work. And, I wasn't all the keen on risking running the photo through the ScanSnap....plus its a hassle bring work computer home and back....
So, since I had gotten home from Chicago Tardis on CyberMonday, it seemed that I would do a repeat of last year and buy a scanner during the usual BlackFriday/CyberMonday weeekend. Also I again got it from NewEgg.
Nothing much more to say about it, except that I installed it on my Windows VM on my ubuntu laptop....since my desktop is old and has issues with scanners (at least with the ones that were previously installed on it...so wanted to avoid dealing with any issues that might come up. Plus easier to find a spot for the scanner....)
So, here's the result:
I finally went to my first Doctor Who Convention....and I got a lot more out of it than I thought I would. Like I got a picture of me with Yee Jee Tso, Paul McGann, and Daphne Ashbrook:
I can't believe I waited so long before going to one....been a Doctor Who fan for like 30 years, since I accidentally tuned into an episode and was instantly hooked. OTOH, it wasn't until moving to Manhattan, KS and going to LISA '07 that the idea of taking vacations and going places and doing Cons became something I was interested in trying.
Also it happened by chance....I remember that I was at Penguicon 7.0 and the thought struck that since I couldn't go to LISA '09 in November, that I should find a different convention that month to go to. And, searching around on google and various other places...I came upon Chicago Tardis. At first it seemed that a really strange weekend to have a convention (except that I've since learned that there's a reason to these dates, like availability and affordability...though guess Doctor Who in Chicago has always been Thanksgiving weekend. Anyways, the more I thought about it...and the more I felt that it was a good idea. So, I registered immediately when I got back from Penguicon....along with other post-con impulse purchases.
It was an interesting and diverse crowd at Chicago Tardis, compared to my only other experiences in attending conventions and conferences...but seems to make sense given the show and probably the time of year that the convention takes place. I don't know if I'll try dressing differently next year.... or stick to my current theme of The Dreamer, the other renegade... The picture I got with Naoko Mori better shows my lab coat ("Dr. E. Amer" - I'm not The Doctor, but I play one in my head).... need to take the plunge and buy yet another scanner. Old flatbed didn't make it when I moved here, and the only other scanner I own is a document scanner that is Mac only (and I don't yet own a Mac). Wonder if I'll stick to plan to learn how to knit...or just buy it?
I also didn't quite shoot pictures as wild and crazy like I did in my youth... while it was good that I had the new digital camera (Canon Powershot SX120IS), I probably shouldn't have gotten it so close to the trip. Still lots of learning and experimenting needed to get used to it. But, the camera did pretty good on the most part.
I also wish I had gotten some other shots with me in them, and had pursued getting autographs and such. If only I was cursed with being so introverted and shy, and also didn't have trouble hearing voices when things get noisy or crowded....
Things were somewhat more expensive compared to other trips, it did help later when I found out about the unofficial consuite, and there was the unofficial dead dog. Plus working all those volunteer hours to get free pizza the last night. Though didn't I swear that I would never do badge checking at on Con' ever again?
But, I went ahead and registered for next year, getting a 3-day reserved this time around. Also thinking next year I'm going to check a suitcase, even if it goes empty on the way there.... should make a note to self that I should consider flying southwest. Wonder if I'll pull off a group shuttle next year, left it to late and then didn't see the replies until even later. Interesting that I saw some of the names in passing there, but didn't connect until now.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking of blowing off Penguicon 2010, and going on the SciFi Cruise. It has been 5 years since I had gone on my last/first/only personal (not a family reunion) cruise. On one hand it is a stumbling issue that its to Alaska...since that's what the previous cruise was to. But, on the other it probably makes sense...especially if they do the tour in Vancouver they are talking about. 8th Doctor was filmed around Vancouver. So far Sylvester McCoy and Daphne Ashbrook are confirmed for the cruise, hopefully Paul McGann can be added and it could be that much more a Doctor Who Movie reunion
I don't know if I can roll my registration to Penguicon 2010, though it probably isn't a big deal since it was paid for using whuffies....though I think that if I don't go, I will want to go back at a future date....to see the various people that I've friended there.
I'll probably decide in the new year....
Meanwhile, the rest of my pics can be found on Picasa Web
Yeah, NetFlix asked me about this.
I was looking around on NetFlix website trying to figure out how to report video problems of instant viewed material. But, couldn't find anything.
At one point during the play back the video broke up and was green...and somewhere after that the audio/video sync was off. Tried pause, ff, rev, stop and restart, but it stayed out of sync.
The only thing I didn't try was switching broadband service. I stayed on Cox for the 3 that I watched yesterday. Even though I have a TiVo HD on Cox and the other TiVo HD on DSL, so it would've been a simple move.
Though both TiVo HDs are direct attached to the cablemodem router...there are two gigabit switches between the cable modem router and the dslmodem router, but wouldn't expect that to have much impact.
Cox should be the faster...pretty I'm supposed to be getting 7Mbps with up to 12Mbps with PowerBoost....though speedtests seem to indicate I get faster speed with my 6MBps DSL service (a fairly consistent 5Mbps). Haven't watched an HD stream on NetFlix, but those had worked better on Cox than DSL. DSL on the other hand is much more reliable. Last lights storm, Cox was out for a few hours. DSL never went down, in fact I managed to stay online during it as well (though I had to make various network configuration tweaks, since most of my home network has Cox as the default gateway)...and had to work fast, since DHCP server has no redundancy and that machine's UPS has short life.
Probably next on my list to get a big UPS for...
You never forget your first Doctor.....I also remember my first Doctor Who show.
But, I'm rating this 3 stars.
Good news...they are going to air the series in the US.
Maybe I don't need to add Canada as somewhere I'll consider moving to...to find work.
Unfortunately, SciFi is a standard cable channel here....so it'll be hazzy analog 4:3. I was kind of hoping to get the DVDs (eventually) so I can enjoy new Doctor Who's that fill my entire screen.
Wonder if SciFi will run season two in sync with either the BBC or CBC?
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