Finished packing, hoping they don't expect me to wear business-casual clothes here (I don't like the low-rewearability and high-stain-and-wrinkle-tendency of button-up shirts). Computer bag is fairly heavy, but not at its heaviest (heaviest this bag has seen was one laptop and several law books that I was mailing out). Bussed to CMU (was going to go to India Garden, but I saw the 28X waiting there and decided that I like having lots of time at the airport, so I skipped what would've been a pleasant meal). Bus ride was quicker than I remembered (did they simplify the route?), reached airport, "lost" cellphone, found cellphone by calling it from expensive payphone (put it in my backpack and forgot about that pocket), went through abandoned sovietesque part of airport to alternative security checkpoint, took ludicrous number of bins for 2 laptops, drawing tablet, hat and shoes, coat, etc etc, was last in line before soviet security checkpoint closed, was told by yet another person that they like my hat, took train to gate, had a rather good wrap from Quiznos combined with terrible queso dip, reached gate, fell asleep, woke up to board plane number one.
The plane was small, and they were asking lots of people to check larger bags. The lady doing this looked at my bag and tried to get my attention, but because of my delicate computerstuffs inside, I was deadset against checking my laptop bag and so I deliberately and somewhat ridiculously avoided letting her get eye contact so she could talk to me, and eventually she was distracted by someone else and I boarded. I played Disgaea on my DS for a bit, but started to feel a migraine floating around my head, so I went to sleep. I woke up most of the way through the flight when a baby nearby started to cry, and because that's an evil combination with migraines I used my "Charm Baby" skill to make it happy so my head would not explode.
The Minneapolis/StPaul airport is not particularly exciting - it's bigger than Pittsburgh's and has a nice tram, but has no particularly appealing-looking food places (I'm not sure if CMU will reimburse me for today's meals anyhow). I lugged my stuff over to the next gate, played Disgaea for a bit again until the migraine got pretty bad, so I went to sleep until the plane arrived. They were doing this irritating "red carpet" thing for the schmucks who pay extra money, being sure everyone else walks the longer way around - was tempted to unleash a socialist rage attack, or at least to spit on the carpet, or at least to say something snide, but I'm too polite and reserved for any of that (to say nothing of migraine). I was further irritated that Northwest (and airlines in general) provides fairly lousy, nickel-and-dime service - when I was younger, I remember included meals on most flights, with generous pretzels and similar for those not remotely near a mealtime (they were not strict, and sometimes I got multiple meals when I flew near lunchtime. Both flights here were very unclassy, offering small bags of pretzels for $5 apiece. I slept through most of flight number 2 as well, trying to dodge the migraine-with-hot-and-cold-chills. I woke up as the plane was landing, migraine gone (the usual pleasantly-warm-eyeballs and depression-lifted-for-a-day-or-so effects there too) and in California's pretty-ok city of SF.
I decided to go by flying broom instead of car, so after I got clear of the airport I slipped a few realities over and went to the broom rental place. I normally like doing my own enchantment, so I went with Jeke's. I probably should've got a locator gem, but hindsight is 20-20 - fortunately, ensorcelling a broom is like riding a bike, and after a few minutes I was in the air (not too far up - the rental company didn't want this particular broom more than 100 feet off the ground). It turns out that in this reality, Palo Alto roughly corrisponds to a town called Wavefront - after a few wrong turns, I eventually made it to what looked like my hotel's analogue (I passed a flying carneval on the way - wanted to stop but it was much higher than this broom was designed to go, and I was tired anyhow). I almost checked in at the analogue of the hotel, but was reminded not to by the instructions to leave brooms outside. Another reality hop and I was at Dinah's Garden Hotel, which is surprisingly nice for a no-name place, nicer than a lot of reasonably expensive hotels I've stayed at. Leather couch, spacious interiour, a pretty heavy garden theme, and a nice big heater to make my room warm. The travel agency screwed up my reservation a bit (starting it tomorrow rather than today), but they had space anyhow. The broom fits nicely in a closet (I just hope the housekeepers don't take it - I don't want to ensorcel a completely mundane broom for the rest of the trip nor pay the replacement fee at Jeke's (getting the currency for the rental already involves things I don't like).
Hotel has free, wired ethernet. That's probably for the best. Hopefully the migraine will mostly stay away while I'm here, and I'll have time to see more of the city than the inside of HP's headquarters. Tomorrow's meetings are epic (over 11 hours of meeting... gaaaah).
Checking the agenda, the conference doesn't start until Tuesday, actually. Wow, that sucks. I really need to talk to CMU's travel agent. Hopefully I can figure out something to do tomorrow/today. Having a car helps. I wish I knew someone here though. I think the last time I was in SF I was with my dad after one of the O'Reilly OpenSource/Perl conferences.