PermaLink I've been at Lotusphere, of course...01/30/2007 04:52 PM

You can always check Gonzo Lotusphere for details about that.  This entry is about the events afterward.
Over at Gonzo Lotusphere and a hundred other places, including Flickr and YouTube, you can catch up on whatever you may have missed at Lotusphere 2007, one of the most magnificent in memory.  It was a truly spectacular Sphere, and I won't try to duplicate the excellent writing that's already been done elsewhere about it.

I want to pick up the story after we all went home.

In short, it wasn't good.

I knew I should have been in for trouble when there was a severe shortage of giant pine cones at the special place along I-95 where I find them.  One of these rare trees had been sawed into chunks sometime since last year, though nearby were some of its mutant progeny.  No obvious coneware yet, though.

I had dinner at a Shoney's in Hardeeville, South Carolina, just over the border from Georgia, and after indulging in a fairly cheap but good seafood buffet, I met a pretty good cat out in the parking lot!  Alas, she wasn't much interested in me once she figured out I hadn't brought out any leftovers, and she wandered away.  I could feel a cold coming on, but got some orange juice and spring water and figured I'd be fine.

The place I stayed Friday night might have been the most miserable hotel in the world.  Avoid the EconoLodge in Lumberton, North Carolina.  Just frickin' avoid it.  I got there around 10:30, checked in, and after about 10 minutes of getting the room all ready, discovered that the heat pump refused to actually emit any heated air.  It was 39 degrees out, and the room was rapidly approaching that, so I turned it off.  The putative wireless was incredibly weak even though I was barely 40 feet in a straight line from the main office.  There seemed to be only two towels, and the television whistled all night, even when it was off.  Forgiving person that I am, I didn't go back and demand another room... I figured pretty much anyplace would be just as bad.  In the morning, the putative breakfast was laughable.  Corn flakes, sort of sour orange juice, and these things that appeared to be Nerf coasters until I realized they were round frozen waffles that had been thawed.  After three attempts in the toaster, on long cycles, they refused to brown up even a little, and then the shitty styrofoam bowl the cereal was in cracked and I dropped it off the counter.  I swore a lot and walked out, leaving the mess for the clueless young Pakistani girl up at the front desk.

I went to Waffle House, of course.

Things got worse.  That afternoon, near Stony Creek, Virginia, the TDI's diesel engine overheated and seized.  It had been leaking water from a bad bearing in the water pump, but with gallons of coolant on hand I figured it would get home just fine.  Nope.  It seized solid and stopped.  By the time the tow truck people and AAA had stopped dicking around and we got on the road to home, it was almost 5:30, and Suzanne was already at my house.  She called me with bad news along the way, what I would discover when I got home.  We did, finally, around 9:30.  $300 later.

Henry and Yellowcat had both died a day or so before I got home.  No obvious cause... they just... died.  

I was in shock.  Yellow had simply fallen over in the middle of the living room... Henry had curled up and died under the armchair in the kitchen.  Peaceful-looking, uninjured.  I'll probably never know what happened.

My house was a mess, my car was destroyed, I was sick, and I had lost two of my friends.

Lotusphere seemed a very long way away.
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2. Donna02/02/2007 09:26:00 AM

I'm terribly sorry about Henry and Yellowcat. How horrible that must have been for you.


3. Adeleida02/02/2007 07:51:17 AM

I'm so sorry about your cats. That is just so sad.

4. Patrick M02/02/2007 03:45:46 AM

Man, that sucks. I feel for you and the poor kitties.


5. Jackie H01/31/2007 12:04:27 PM

My heart goes out to you Turtle. Sorry for your losses.

6. Don McNally01/31/2007 07:40:23 AM

A long way away indeed. Sorry to hear about the bad end to the trip.

7. Bill01/30/2007 06:04:57 PM

Ouch. Thinking of you...

---* Bill

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