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John was killed by an IED on 30 November 2006. I’ve lost a friend and a brother. The hole in my heart. I’m going to miss you so much my friend.

John L. Hartman Jr.

8 Oct 1967

30 November 2006

Staff Sergeant John L. Hartman Jr.

Well, I’m back from supercomputing. We flew out of Monterey California to Salt Lake City, then on to Tampa Florida. Here’s the quick and dirty on the travel part of the trip. The Conference coverage will follow shortly.

Rating Scale. 1 to 10 with 10 being heavenly and 1 being Hell.

Monterey Airport: Rates a 6.

We caught the 6:30 AM flight out of Monterey to Salt Lake City via Delta Airlines. This of course meant getting up at 3 AM to get ready, drive to Marina, pick up Serge, drive back to Monterey and get there by 5 AM. 1 1/2 hours, plenty of time to get through a podunk little airport. It was actually, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t royally screwed up the poor little airport in the name of “security”. Frankly, it’s tore to $h1t. Welcome to TSA, airline security via stupidity and money. Anyhow. We get through that okay and off to Salt Lake on a tiny Canadair plane.

Delta 737-800: Rates an 8.

In Salt Lake City we end up getting on a Boeing 737-800 with about half the staff from Linux Networx, who are also headed for SC06. Now let me tell ya, the 737-800 is a nice little bird. Drop down video screens for the movie, the seats were at a decent spacing, especially compared to the assinine sardine planes I’ve flown with on Contenental. I’m not a big guy, but I am physically I’ll after a long flight on one of there knee cramming airplanes. So, I was pleasantly surprised. It was pretty decent. The movie on that flight was “Talladega Nights.” If you can pick it up as a special at Block Buster, well don’t even bother then.

Thrifty Rent a Car. Rates a 4. And only because I’m feeling kind.

Thrifty had one, yes one person manning the counter at Tampa. We beat most of he crowd to the car rental agencies thankfully. We ended up second in line and it took over 30 minutes to get our car. Every time some jack ass with a thrifty gold prick card showed up they cut in line to the front and away we went to waiting some more. Will I rent from Thrifty again if I get the choice. hmmm.. Let me ponder this. Hell NO! Only good thing I have to say about Thrifty is we ended up with a Sebring Convertable. Great when the top is down. Blind spots everywhere when the top is up.

Doubletree Guest Suites. Rates a 6.

They decided the old place needed a paint job, so the whole time we were there the place had wet railings, paper coverings on the sidewalks, construction stuff all over. But that’s not what made me lower the ratings. I can understand the painting. What I couldn’t understand was the nasty $7.50 breakfast. Runny eggs, undercooked bacon, overcooked sausage, tator tots, okay coffee, and not much else. Only Pepsi vending machines. No candy machines at all, and as a diabetic it’s one of the first things I look for. Cheap bastards wanted to force the people staying there to pay their overpriced food costs. On the up side though was the Tiki Hut bar outside. That alone raised the rating a full point.

Tampa Airport. Rates a 2.

To say that security at the Tampa Airport was totally Assinine would be cruel to asses. We had to show our boarding passes and picture ID’s 3 flipping times to idiots in uniform who probably couldn’t read, let alone know if an ID was fake or not. I am sorely tempted to create my own ID from the Federated Republic of Berkeley just to see if they catch on. I’m betting I have a better than 80% chance of passing through all three of their checkpoints. My insuling pump, which I will NOT take off thank you, has passed through the metal detectors of 4 other airports without a hitch. Not at the Tampa assinine airport. They have them set so sensitive that my pump set it off every time. I got the pleasure of “Stand over there please” so we can put a wand up your butt. Oh, and you better plan for the full 2 hours before your flight if you want a prayer of making your plane. Not only are they stupid, they’re slow too. Big surprise there.
Total travel experience: Rates a 6.

Upsides for Delta and the 737-800, the Sebring Convertable, and the Tiki Hut bar.

Evens for Salt Lake City Airport, Monterey Airport, and the Doubletree guest suites.

Downs for Thrifty, hotel constructions, and the Tampa Airport.

Well, I’m headed for supercomputing 06 in Tampa Florida. It’ll be great to see some of my old co workers and friends. I’ll post some updates when I get back.

Well, I better watch what I say now. (: I’ve been linked to from my good friend Crabby. Hey Crabby, you better get yourself to SC06. I’ve jumped through the hoops and I’ll be arriving Monday afternoon, just in time for the opening Gala at 7pm. I do believe I need a partner to drink SuperTini’s with. (supercomputer martini’s for you uninitiated). So grab the Caz man and I’ll see ya there.


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November 2006
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