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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Friday, December 16, 2005

Holiday Anticipation

Hey, how about a quick rant about United Airlines?  So I’ve got elite status on United (1K), I’m a Red Carpet Club member (I pay for this out of my own pocket each year) and in general I think they treat me pretty well.  Most of the time I can get upgraded to first class and from time to time there’s even a power outlet at my seat.  What I want to know is this: who designed their Red Carpet Clubs, and do they have any clue about who their customers are?  Most business travelers use a layover for two do one or more of the following:

  • Re-charge their laptops and other assorted peripherals hanging off their bat belts
  • Connect to the wireless network to send/receive email, download RSS feeds (OK, maybe not everyone does this, but I do)
  • Get a beer
  • Watch CNN or some random sporting event on TV

United does a decent job with the final three (though you think they could throw us a bone and give us free wireless) but they’ve completely dropped the ball on available power outlets.  I was just in the Denver B terminal Red Carpet and the only power I could find was in the business kiosks.  Wouldn’t it be nice if I could sit in the bar area, watch some hoops, and plug into a convenient outlet to re-charge?  I suppose that’s too much to ask.  The odds of finding power are better out in the terminal.


Another side note – I caught a documentary on Smile by Brian Wilson on the HD Network provided by DirecTV last week (Tivo’d of course).  What an amazing two hours of history, music, and commentary.  Jacob and Matthew are huge Beach Boys fans and love the Smile CD (got it about this time a year ago).  My main concern is the extensive talk around drug usage, mainly marijuana and LSD, but then I was thinking it would provide a great opportunity to have a discussion about it with the boys.  The amount of HD programming on DirecTV isn’t great, but what’s there is good and there’s even a rumor that they’ll be broadcasting the local stations in HD starting in 2006.  For now I catch them with my off-air antenna and the reception is often spotty.


So… holiday anticipation.  My vacation days off this year will be centered around the two weekends, with three days of work in between.  For Christmas weekend we’ll have a huge crowd of family out at Salishan, and this means an opportunity to introduce a whole lotta games to the extended family.  Given that this will be the 11th anniversary of the Christmas-Where-Dave-and-Mike-and-Chris-Discovered-Magic-At-The-Mall-And-Got-Almost-Zero-Sleep-For-Four-Days, what should I introduce to them to recreate that experience and suck them back into the gaming hobby (fyi, Dave and Mike are Julie’s twin brothers and are about 6 months older than I)?  I’m thinking a healthy dose of Ticket to Ride, For Sale, Havoc, Railroad Tycoon, and maybe even Duel of Ages is in order.  We’ll also bring out a supply of party games, such as Wits and Wagers, Tunebaya, and Times Up.

Tuesday, December 27, I’ll be back in Portland from the coast and will host the game group down in Sherwood.

Wednesday, December 28 is my birthday and though I’ll be back working, I plan to take a partial vacation day and join Mike and company at his place for our annual weekday between Christmas and New Years game day.  Since nobody will be waiting for me at home I’ll likely stay as late as Mike will allow me.

The evening of the 29th I’ll drive Rita back out to the coast to join our families for a weekend of fun and gaming out at Salishan (the Rudes will also join us).  We’ve been doing the New Years thing with the Rudes for (I think) four years running and this will be our second time with the three families out at the coast. It will be interesting to see what comes out over this weekend – last year included a Swiss-style sealed deck Magic tournament, a Texas hold-em tournament, a multi-player game of 7th Sea, and a healthy dose of PS2 gaming.  I’m thinking of picking up an XBox 360 for the weekend.  Ha hah!  Are you reading this Julie?  Really, I’m just kidding…

OK, my power is running low and I’m getting ready to land at PDX… time to sign off and shut down.

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