Thursday, January 28, 2010

The road to Marscon (part 2)

I am writing this as a guide for my wife who will be driving to Marscon with my kid:

Section one: Wood Dale, IL to Madison, WI (121 miles)

Route: I-290 west (5 miles) to I-90 west (50 miles) to I-90/I-39 (66 miles)

route issue: I-290/I-90 junction. Interstate 290 expands to as many as 5 lanes at this point. The left three lanes bypass the exit; stay on the right side. There are three exits on the right. The second one is Interstate 90 west. After doing a 270 degree turn you will be on the Northwest (now called Jane Addams) tollway through most of Illinois.

All tollbooths now allow IPass so if you are on the correct side when passing a toll booth you will not need to stop.

Stopping: Some exits on the tollway do not have an entrance ramp going in the same direction. There are signs posted mentioning that. In Belvedere, half way between Rockford and 290 there is an oasis which has gas, toilets and places to get food.

In Wisconsin, the biggest concern about stopping is making sure there is a place near the expressway to stop. The rest areas only have toilets and vending machines. Exits which have food and gas do have blue information signs about a half mile from them. However, it is highly recommended to stop at an exit which has the places just off the exit. Some places are up to 2 miles away. Also make sure when getting back on the expressway to take the correct direction. (West heading to Bloomington, east heading home).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The road to Marscon (part 1)

My wife and I have been talking about her and my daughter going to the Bloomington, MN Holiday Inn Select on the first weekend of March to join me at the Marscon sci-fi convention which features comedy music performed by artists who travel from both coasts and points in between.

In the past when my wife would go, she would fly since it would be quicker for her and not that much more expensive than driving. With taking the kid, that would double the airfare cost without considering the luggage fees airlines now charge.

Last night before we went to sleep, my wife stated she could drive. Though it would save $200 over two air fares, I am hesitant to let her do that and really don't want to give up 60 hours of my con experience time to drive them myself since I would not get to the con until Friday at 6PM and would have to leave the con Sunday at noon to get my kid home at a decent time so she can go to school on Monday. note: When I ride with my friends, the con starts when we leave my house and ends when we return. It is not the same riding with my wife and daughter.

Why am I hesitant to let my wife drive to the con with only the kid? Look up my entries titled Family Circus Style Driving. A week ago Saturday, it took her two hours to get home from Glenview, twenty miles away.

This is the route of the almost 400 mile trip from my house to Marscon which I have driven the past 4 years and have taken to the twin cities about 30 times since 1990:

I will need to put together a guide for my wife for the trip.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One minute at a time

The only game I play on Facebook is their one minute version of Bejeweled; considered as one of the ten most significant games made during the last decade. My sisters and cousins try to beat my weekly score and usually fail like what I scored last Sunday night:

I decided that was the last game I am going to play of it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

All in a name

For the New Years Eve parties I attended, I brought my Rock Band for entertainment. To make things easier, I decided to put all the songs I have in the game on lists similar to what happens in karaoke. I first put them in song title order, then used that list to make another one in artist order.

What made the task more difficult that it sounds was using my daughter's computer which I now keep in the front room so she has a better wireless signal and so I can keep an eye on what she does. I would have to look at the tv and then turn to my left to enter the info.

I also discovered the artists in Rock Band are arranged by first name and the word "the" is overlooked in putting groups in Alpha order while trying to make the order of artists in the artist list match the one in the game. When doing it I noticed errors in the artist listing and fixed them:

The worst part was that I changed the artist listing but not the spelling before printing the copies. I found that out when someone asked about the band Leonard Skinnard.