Thursday, September 21, 2006

By the time I post this, it will be my first day back out to work after some fifteen days of vacation. Twelve of those days being spent in Atlanta Georgia at my aunt’s place, I’ve already written about the horrid trip from Trinidad to Atlanta and my dislike for the Miami International Airport along with my promise to never fly with American Airlines ever again. This recent vacation trip has been a learning experience in that along with my brother and his two co-workers and under the advisement of my mother know how to better prepare for next years trip to DragonCon. For starters:
1. As this is September we should/will start saving for next years convention from now. If we each put aside somewhere between $400.00 to $600.00 per month between now and mid-August of 2007, we should each be able to save from $4,800.00 to $7,200.00TT {$755.00 to $1,133.00 US}. Which should be able to cover transport, accommodation and spending money for the entire four days of the convention. By early to mid June we should make advance hotel reservations for a room at either the Hayatt or Hilton to stay arrive there a day or two before the start on the convention, and leave a day or two after the convention. As there would be between four to six of us in attendance staying in one room, it should not cost as much for each of us.

2. Instead of flying into Atlanta via way of Miami, we wil/shouldl fly into NY and most likely stay at my Uncle D’s place. When my brother and his co-workers went to Baltimore, and encountered some difficulty with finding accommodations for the funds that they had. My Uncle told them to get on the next bus to NY (which is a three hour bus ride), and he met them at the bus station. They stayed there from Friday into Saturday, and they were well take care of. On Saturday he drove them to Baltimore to drop them off at the Baltimore Comic Con while he went on to the Carnival. As it would be no problem to stay with him for a day or two, we would then take the bus from NY to Atlanta GA.

3. As there is the possibility that there will be a lot of things that will catch our interest from vendors, it would be best to save some additional funds from our regular salary. At least that way, we would each have some additional funds for extra spending on items, hotel accommodations, meals etc

Next year hopefully, I should be able to pat a visit to my friends in Upstate NY. I tried t0 get in contact with one or two, but was unsuccessful. I spoke briefly to my college roommate, at the time he was about to watch a movie with his daughter and promised to call back when he could. Guess the demands of the job and other stuff must have kept him really busy. No big deal, the same could be said of my friend from Berkeley, he recently started working with the College in their alumni relations department, and the demands of the job probably demand a lot of his time. There is always calling cards and e-mail.

After some three/four years of loyal service, my beloved Dell Laptop finally gave out as its motherboard burned out. Good thing I was in the states, and not too far from two Best Buy stores. On the 10th September accompanied by my aunt, I went to one of the Best Buy’s and as it was Sunday, it just so happened to be the day when they had their sales. I purchased a Compaq Laptop for $600.00, with a three year warranty for $149.00. So far it has been working quite well, and I now finally have a laptop where I can watch DVDs, along with burning info onto CDs. Should come in handy for work and other stuff.

Last Monday I celebrated my 33rd birthday in Atlanta, my aunt took me out to see “Accepted” to dinner at a Thai restaurant and to Boarders Bookstore to get a book of my choice. With all that the 11th of September has become known for, it should be noted that two of my school mates from St. John Fisher College, Mike and Kim welcomed their second child into the world. I wonder if they know that their second child shares a birthday with me? Just today in one of the local papers was a list of famous people that were born on the 11th of September. They are as follows:

DH Lawrence 11/09/1885
Ludacris 11/09/1977
Moby 11/09/1965
Harry Connick jr 11/09/1967

Others born within this month/planet (Virgos):
Ruben Studdard 12/09/1978
Jacqueline Bisset 13/09/1944
Fiona Apple 13/09/1977
Ben Savage 13/09/1980
Sam Niel 14/09/1947
Tommy Lee Jones 15/09/1946
Prince Harry Windsor 15/09/1984
Oliver Stone 15/09/1946
Lauren Bacall 16/09/1924
Jennifer Tilly 16/09/1961
Marc Anthony 16/09/1968
Anne Bancroft 17/09/1931
John Ritter 17/09/1948
Cassandra Peterson aka “Elvira Mistress of The Dark” 17/09/1951

Interesting don’t you think. Well, time to go, back to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Long Road To Vacation

On the 28th August I left work thinking that this would be the last time I would see my place of employment for the next two weeks, as I was due to fly out of T&T the following day. However, mother nature well more like one of her nephews threw a monkey wrench in that plan. With Hurrican Ernesto heading for Miami, all flights heading there on the 29th were either pushed back or cancelled. Which was the case with my flight on American Airlines, originally my brother, his boss and I were supposed to have travelled on the 29th, instead we were pushed back to the 1st September. Which kinda worked out seeing as one of my brother's co-workers who was supposed to travel on the 30th would now travel with us on the 1st. As she had never travelled to the States before, having us around would make it a whole lot easier for here and her parents. In the meantime, I had to go back out to work for one more day, mostly to make arrangements for a shuttle bus to take us from the airport in Atlanta to my aunt's house. That was alll arranged and our route was supposed to look like this:

1st September T&T to Miami with a connecting flight to Atlanta.

This too was to have another mon key wrench thrown in the works. This time it was mostly due to the inefiencey of American Airlines. For starters, they are soooooo cheap, instead of meal we were offered a snack. You know what it was? A pack of Ole Corn Chips, one pack of burbon biscuits and a hotdog roll with cheesepaste. Even BWIA does far better than that! There was a dleay in takeing off due to the baggage still being loaded onto the aircraft, and there was a delay in landing due to bad weather in the vacinity of the airport. By the time we landed sometime after 6:35pm, we had a small window in which to make our flight and there was still customs and baggage claim to go through. Due to the rain and lightening the baggae handlers were not going to unload anyhting until it passed.

By the time we collected our luggage and made our way over to the counter to find out about our flight it was already too late. The flight had long departed and there would not be another one to Atlanta till the following morning. They had offered us a voucher for a hotel, yeah right. All the hotels in the area were booked up solid as it was labor day weekend. So the four of wound up spending the night in the airport. We got ourselves a little something to dogs and chips, then found an area to settle down and wait till the following morning. Luckily the spot where we were camping out was right in front of a newstand, so we were able to get a few snacks, water and juice to tide us over. I don't think I slept at all during the 12+ hours that we spent at the Miami international Airport, as it was a group of us travelleing together it made the whole thing a bit bearable.

Originally we had been booked for an 11:18am flight to Atlanta, but tried to get on the 8:15am flight as stand by's. Out of the four members of our party, two were confirmed on the 8:15am flight, while my bother and I were still on standy by. There were a lot of folks on stand by that were trying to get on the flight, so it did not seem like my brother and I would be on the same flight with the others. As they were near the end of boading, they had called a few names who were not there. Just as I was about to tell my brother let's go and get some pizza for breakfast, they called us. YES!!! We made the flight.

From this trip I have decided that based on destination I will not travel with American Airlines ever again. I would sooner stick with BWIA and their cramped seating, or catch a connecting flight through either Barbados or Puerto Rico to my destination instead of going through the Miam International Airport.

After landing and makeing our way to my aunt's place, we had a brief rest before going on to DragonCon, which is a four day Sci-Fi convention, we had already missed the opening day, but we were able to get a ticket pass for the remaining three days. After staning in a seriously looooooooooonnnnnggggggg line populated by people in costumes of every make and type that seemed to go on forever, my bother and I finally got to the ticket counter and got our passes (his boss and fellow co-woker were volounteering for the event, so they did not have to join the line), and went to check out the event.

Compared to the ones that I had been to in Trinidad , this one was the motherload. There were a lot of vendors that offered a wide array of itmes from comics, novels, action figures, dvds, models, game stuff etc. You name it they had it. We picked up a few things on our first day there, then got some more itmes during the remaining two days. I had an opportunity to talk to several vendors, authors and such about my plans for a business and was even able to exchange business cards so I would have my contacts when it comes time to start shopping for the business.

As I've already made a pre-registration payment for next year, the plan is as follows:
1. Leave at least two to three days before the start of DragonCon.
2. Arrange to stay at one of the hotels where they will be holding the event, thay way during the course of the day we could always go back to the room to rest during the day.
3. Save up more money, a definite, thankfully I did not spend all of my vacation money at the event and still have some left for the remainder of my time here. But nevertheless, I plan to save more for next year's event.
4.Fly to Barbados then connect with a flight to Atlanta.
5. Come up earlier to go and visit my friends in NY and NJ before the event.

Inspite of the difficulty that was encountered on the way here, DragonCon made up for it in many ways.