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austin_dern

July 2017

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Apr. 15th, 2017

We slept in. Late. Really late. Later than that. Usually on a vacation of any kind we get up early for us. But between the travel day and the thirteen hours spent mostly on our feet and [profile] bunny_hugger's emotionally exhausting competition we were in for a lot of sleep. I did get up by early afternoon, in time to catch some bother or other at work. I think they needed a server restarted. I forget but while I had warned them I'd be in Dallas I had never quite asked permission or anything to take the day off, and they do have stuff that clients depend on that they ask about. This was before a couple weeks of infuriating back-and-forth about stuff I didn't break.

Also we didn't have anything to get to before about 5:30. There was the PinMasters pin-golf tournament, for which there were 1:00 and 6:00 ``tee times''. ADM had gotten a 1:00 tee time. By the time we'd signed up those were all gone, though. We had to settle for the evening slot, along with ADM's friend who'd flown in late, whom we'd drive there. It did give us the chance to sleep in which we so needed.

It also gave the chance to eat somewhere comprehensible. There was a Tex-Mex place in a strip mall across the 400-lane superhighway outside our hotel. I was able to figure how to cross from one 20-lane one-way service road to the other with just three miles of trying. And it was a really, really great place. Maybe not that great. But they did make the guacamole right there at the table, which isn't done much in our part of Michigan (we're not even sure there is a proper Tex-Mex place in our part of Michigan) and certainly not done starting from avocado this time of year. Plus they had multiple salsas, better than usual, for the chips.

We went to the supermarket; we needed sunscreen, though not for pinball. We also figured we might pick up some snacks or something to eat after the pinball tournament, since that would probably bring us back to the hotel near midnight and food chances would be slim by then. They had some way-too-big-for-us cookies decorated for Saint Patrick's Day, as that's when this was, and while we didn't get any yes, [profile] bunny_hugger took a photo. I failed to bring my camera or I would have.

[profile] bunny_hugger and I have a Saint Patrick's Day tradition that plenty of others have: getting a Shamrock Shake. We found a McDonald's that was, of course, on the other side of the superhighway and along the service roads some. We also got there in time for the shake machine to have some major issues or other, leaving us with plenty of time to read the flyer about how customers shouldn't panic but they were trying out non-frozen beef in their quarter pounders and it may look weird but it's really all right. Also [profile] bunny_hugger read its Spanish version, learning how much of the language she still knew competently well.

Back to the hotel, which required another crossing of the superhighway to the opposite-side's access road. And to pick up ADM's friend. The tournament directors wanted people there about 5:30, and we set off right about 5:00, plenty of time for a drive that the previous morning had taken fifteen minutes. Right?

You know what you forget exists when you're a telecommuter? Or when your work has you drive in late mornings and drive back late evenings? Rush hour. Dallas has enormously many impossibly wide highways and they were not nearly enough. We barely got onto the first highway and were stopped. And kept stopped. ADM's friend summoned his ``smart phone'' to get traffic rerouting information --- our satellite navigator didn't have it --- and he guided me on a mildly stressful tour of the minor roads in the Dallas area. We also called to warn them thanks to traffic we couldn't be there at 5:30. ... Or 5:45. Or 5:55.

We pulled into the lot right about 6:00 and I let [profile] bunny_hugger and ADM's friend out of the car so I could park. I got into the tournament after the designated start time, and was --- naturally --- assigned to be the first person in my group of four playing the first game. Tournament rules normally allow a person to be as much as two and a half minutes late before they're declared missing and their balls get plunged for them. My group joked that I was just about to get time called on me. I don't suppose they'd have actually done that, given the circumstance. But it was the latest I'd ever been to any kind of pinball event and I wasn't cheerful about that.

Trivia: Shopping mall pioneer Victor Gruen, hired in 1958 by Fort Worth utility officials to recommend improvements to the city downtown, advised banning cars altogether. Residents would drive to a beltway around the central business district and walk or use electric shuttle cars to spots in town. About half the population would need to use buses instead of driving to the central parking lots. Source: The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionairies, and Trailblazers who Created the American Superhighways, Earl Swift.

Currently Reading: Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, The Metal That Runs The World, Bill Carter.

PS: What Is The Logarithm of a Negative Number? I don't tell you, but I tell you about someone's essay about how mathematicians worked out what they are, so there's that.

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