mbernardi: (WeeMee)

Booked ticket for "Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK" from bl.uk for tomorrow morning. Then went to Café for No 1 breakfast and a beef sandwich for lunch.

Downloaded Hugo winning Ancillary Justice from Amazon for $3.34. Then on my train journey to ExCel arrived 9:10.

The first program item I wanted to go to was Robin Hobb reading. I was somewhat disconcerted to discover a panne in progress (even though RH was the first item on the program) it turned up to be a spontaneous gate crashed panel discussing RH an other stuff. RH arrived 10:07 and read from her latest book (copy borroed from one of the earlier panelists!) This was the only program item with a GoH that I attended (except for opening and closing)
This was followed by Pat Rothfuss giving a shirt reading from his book, then a review of Roald Dahl book he thought aweful.
Bought a supporting membership in next years Worldcon, Sasquan for £25. Charged iPod (again) in library.
Met E & C (LMB curry attendees) in line for W Shkspr Abridged. C comented on my VK lanyard (the only person who did). Wonderful performance of 39 plays in 100 minutes. With a few fanish references
Finished at 2:00 then went for lunch on balcony ever the main ExCel corridor L1. Wandered fan village, started queuing for closing ceremony at 2:45, this finished at 3:40 with the guests disappearing into the tardis for last years worldcon! Sasquan left holding the gavel, and throwing sweets to the audience, (I caught a few and kept 3).

Queued up for "Before the Dawn - the Musical" from 3:50, actually started 4:58 (half an hour late - in part as the had to connect an overflow room with a video feed) the interval occurred at 6:30 for 15 min. Show finished 8:10. Much better than last time it was performed. Better storyline and much better costumes
A DVD of the performance will be made available.

Went to fan village, bought foot-long hotdog (no burgers left) and the worst potatoe wedges, for £9.00 and added a half of cider for £2.05 (much better value).
Then charged iPod in library corner.
Got free half pint of cider at Helsinki tent.
Decided to leave early and caught 9:22 from Prince Regent DLR station. Just missed train on opposite platform at Canning Town, got 9:38 to Woolwich Arsenal and then caught 10:04 to Charlton.
Back to my room by 10:15

mbernardi: (WeeMee)

Woken by my alarm at 7:00 only time I didn't wake myself. Then made myself breakfast (porridge & tea) - Café I have been getting breakfast at didn't open until 9am on Sun - got train and stopped off for a 6" breakfast sub with coffee for only £2.80 so also got one for lunch & can of ginger beer for £3.50

Got DLR to ExCel for 9:15
Saw live Quiddich match on village lawn - left after 40 min when play opened up to give spectators a go!

Joined a panel in which Authors talked about Fan Works both that they had done and which had been done to them. Then managed a double Kaffeeklatsch first with Gail Carriger (I really must read the books I've bought and buy the ones missing), then with Madie Robins, only four people signed up.
Ate lunch in the Library then up to N11 for a wander around. Not enough book stalls. Most are single imprints (apart from FP & a couple of 2nd hand stores).
Said hi to Mikki D and her costume
Up to L3 charged iPod and listened to audible book.
Went to catherynne valente's reading, and unfortunately droped off to sleep part way through!

Back to the fan village and bought a supporting membership for MidAmeriCon II (Worldcon in 2016) for £30. Then I walked through the ExCek and on to Tesco; got belgian bun and milkshake £1.50 and also had Goumet Burger and fries £6.50. Then got ice cream cone for £2 (so total cost £10). Walked back to ExCel for 6:45 Charged iPod in library chatted with Amanda (history of t'internet!)
Brad Templeton's telepresence robot "Beam" was also charging.
At 7:20 I joined the Hugo queue on L1 and only took 6 min to get in and sat down by 7:28
While waiting for the show to stard a slideshow of Hugo finalists were shown on the big screen.
The Hugo awards started at 8:10 and were streamed live on ustream.com they ended at 10:05. Went straight to Prince Regent DLR station and caught 10:24 to Canning Town then 10:37 to Woolwich Arsenal and then 10:55 to Charlton. Got to hotel 11:03
Made coffee and ready for bed

mbernardi: (Default)

Up early and at Café just after 7:00 for breakfast. Ordered mushroom omelette with sausage, toast & tea + ham sandwich for only £5.10

Nice day so decided to the O2 / Emerates Air car over the river
Took 25 min to walk and 15 min to cross the Thames . Great views and much better value than the London Eye! Took a ton of photos. Tesco was across the road from the station so bought drinks an porridge in a pot (for tomorrow's breakfast - Café doesn't open until 9:00 so need to leave before then)
walked to the ExCel, then timed my walk from one end to the other about 10 min.
My first actual panel of the con was made up of four young ladies aged between 8 & 16 with an adult YA author as moderator. I was very impressed with their intelligence, articulation and poise. Talking in front of a room full of stranger is not something I would want to do!

Had early lunch and was joined by EC and a bit later JB and discussed last nights curry party, and six degrees of separation with Wellington & Napoleon.

Queued for Mary Robinette Kowal's reading, room was full, and she red from her new novel (not glamourist history - due next year). Wonderfully read, she had to read from her phone as her tablet didn't charge! - I asked if she would be reading the audio book and she wants a different voice. We each got a party favour of sandalwood fans as we left - very cool.

Met and chatted with KB then to panels on how you can't make money creating indie comics, then how to podcast.

Subway 6" for dinner then queued for Tanya Huff reading and was next to Suzanne McLeod from yesterdays kaffeeklatsch - room packed. She read from her 3rd and last Enchanted Emporium book due out Nov 14

Up to L3 to charge iPod met and chatted with KB and E&I after charging iPod down to main auditorium for Masqurade, excellent workmanship at all levels only pun Tony Stark - Heir to the Iron Throne!
Discovered I was sitting a few seats from VH so moved next to her and chatted before the performance started. Unable to stay for the final results, or I'd miss the last train to Charlton. Left ExCel 10:35 at hotel 11:20

mbernardi: (WeeMee)

I realised today (with an email reminder from Jerrie A) that apart from being 45 years since the last Loncon, it's also 35 years since my first ever convention, and 20 years since starting the Lois McMaster Bujold mailing list!

So up 6:45 and out for No 1 breakfast + a corn beef sandwich for my lunch (£6.70) discovered I was trying to open hotel door with wrong code!
Caught train 8: and got to ExCel 9:35 bought a Costa coffe as I was signed up for a Kaffeeklatsch with C E Murphy and Suzanne McLeod, only one person there for Suzanne so combined the two, sparkling pencils were available (and I realised I'd actually read one of her books!)
Catie arrived a few minutes late but made up for it by bringing awesome chocolate fudge! I lively discussion / chat occurred (I reminded C that she had also written a Regency, when she enumerated her now works.
Wandered around the dealer area / exhibition
Ate my lunch (bought earlier) and then went in for the regency dance where I managed to "learn" and dance 3 routines before giving up (I really wish I'd gone to the Swing Dance teaching)

Bought a membership for next years eastercon (Dysprosium) in London (£60) then at just before 5:00 met up with E&I at DLR before taking the train to Woolwich Arsenal and then a minicar to S & Ms house (only £5)
arrived at 6:00 James still preparing curry. Chatted both inside and in the garden, lovely large house. James dished up at around 7:00 and had three helping! Wonderful flavours with Cobra beer! Discussion continued through the evening until I had to leave at 10:45. Got a lift back to my hotel from S and arrived 11:00, using Brian Blessed voiced satnav. Realised I'd taken my "Sharing Knife" with me and forgot to show it to anyone.

mbernardi: (WeeMee)

Woke up early and got up at my normal time (as if for work) caught up on LJ and went out for a full English breakfast before catching the train, changing for the DLR and changing again for the ExCel stop
Got to ExCel at 9:20, spent 20 min queuing to get badge, pocket program guide & convention book.
a few hours later the queue was three or more times longer an queues were still in use after 2pm, I bought a Loncon3 t-shirt to add to my collection.

The opening started wthe a medly of SF theamed music, which a few on stage fans acted out sceans from. It continued with a Hogwarts theam and the co-chairs as joint head teachers. All the guests were sorted into houses, Shelley, Orwell, Mitchison, new 4th house Banks (Chris Foss didn't appear)

Managed to say hi to numbers of people, especially Elizabeth C who I spent over an hour chatting with.
Met her again at Jo Walton reading.

Had a torrential thunderstorm overhead in the early afternoon. My iPod kept loosing charge so I had to hunt for a power solet to plug in. I guess I'll have to get a replacement (but I've had it for 2 years so it's paid it's dues).

I wandered around the Exhibit hall / Dealers Room / Art Show a few times. Bought the Loncon3 filk book from Roger.

Intended to see Sassafras with Jo Walton but only stayed for half an hour. Norse myths not my favourite!

While the ExCel is full of fast food shops, they do mark up significantly, I had a subway 6" and usually get a meal deal for £3. I paid £4 for just a sandwich.

The Retro Hugos (from 1938 - Mary Robinette Kowal said she had arrived in a Delorian and we heard Rob Shearman arrive in a tardis) were a lot of fun Mary Kowal was particularly elegant with a thirties style make over. She sand in introduction wit the Brideshead Ballroom Stompers.
The broadcast, live from LNCN3 & streamed on ustream.com, was interrupted by outside broadcasts regarding a large metal cylinder
Fortunately the invaders were destroyed by concrud!

To no ones surprise Orson Wells and the Mercury Theatre won the best dramatic presentation - for War of the Worlds. Best novel The Sword in the Stone (my choice for both)

The BBS band provided music for a swing dance later in the evening, but I only got to hear 15 minutes as prior to this I enjoyed hobbit snacks from the Tolkein Society in the fan village. Pork pie, mince pie & Almond seed cake - with a tot of mead to wash it all down with.

I had to leave at 10:30 to ensure I could get the last train back to my hotel. In the event I got back to my room a bit earlier than expected at 11:25. Unpacked all my goodies and then to bed (besides I'm too old an creaky to stay up all night).

mbernardi: (Default)

I have just got to London a few hours ago and am about to goto bed in The Antigallican Hotel (above a pub) which was the cheapest hotel within walking distance of the Excel. Only it's on the wrong side of the Thames (which I discovered after I'd booked)
It does however have free wifi!

Anyway even with travel costs it's still half the price of the con hotels!

This is the first time I've been to a Worldcon in London (despite it being Loncon3) and I've been to every British Worldcon since Seacon79.

So I will be interrupting my monthly LJ posting schedule with regular posting from the Worldcon.

mbernardi: (Default)

Continued working on the Python course. I've completed all 7 exercises and 3 assignments (the last one went poorly) I've only got the exam to complete (which I intend to do tomorrow).

Clocks went back so evenings are even darker.

Strictly Come Dancing has become very exciting at the halfway point, any one could win.

I got an emergency call from my Mum, their Internet had died. I had to provide a spare router and setup (and documented) the replacement systems. Stayed over then back home.

Had an interview with a local company, haven't heard one way or another as yet.

Last Wednesday went to library book club only 3 of us there. May close due to lack of interest. Then collected ECDL certificate from Rewards (and the new ECDL Advanced training manual). Then to Crawley ate at Jubilee Oak then 2 hours dancing (no K as she was exhausted by an interview earlier) But J returned.

Signed on at Job Centre and started ECDL Advanced ( Excel) at Rewards training centre.

Today saw chiropractor, got hair cut then to Crawley for fish & chips at the Jubilee Oak and then off to dancing.

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Day Seven

Oct. 9th, 2012 08:45 pm
mbernardi: (Default)

Tue 9 Oct
Up 8:10 read then sent off to the local shop to buy "All Bran" before breakfast. Sis and Mum cleared a cupboard of unwanted stuff (including a sky box and video player).

Pat came for coffee after playing tennis on the Toscamar courts. Amazing as she's over 80!

Then to lunch at Scallops. I had potato wedges again, followed by a gammon steak with chips, peas and carrots. Finished off again with profiteroles. Sis and I walked along the beach front, bought a few things and then walkwed back along the beach, paddling in the sea!

Home to check email and LJ.

Read and played games on iPod. Last full day in Spain.

Banana and ice cream, for tea ( and tea).

Read and then down to reception to download email and LJ post this before bed. Last post from Spain!

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Day Six

Oct. 9th, 2012 03:57 pm
mbernardi: (Default)

Mon 8 Oct
Up 8:30 continued python programming for an hour and a half. Had breakfast.

Went shopping with sis, got iPod touch hard case for 1.80€ and a notepad for 0.70€. Also got a USB memory stick and copied audio book mp3s from cd to it for dad. Sundry other stuff chosen by my sister.

Finished python programming assignment, took laptop to reception to upload and discovered a 24 hour extension so got 100% rather than the 50% I was expecting. Sent email card to D, got an immediate reply. Also to aunt S, but no response as yet.

Lunch was at 2:00 the read Ebook in the afternoon.

Fitted new shower head and pipe to shower, seems to be more options but less flexible positioning.

All went for a drive to "Cabo de a Nao" where we saw a lighthouse, some views and two restaurants then along a winding mountain road to "Grandella" a beach cove. Then home stopping off at reception for a wifi fix.

Read for a bit then bed at 10:00.

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Day Five

Oct. 8th, 2012 06:35 pm
mbernardi: (Default)

Sun 7 Oct
Up 7:30 used shower, new fitting worked well.

Left for church just after 9:00 arrived 9:30. Nice service invited back to P&P's home for drinks. Due to road work entrance is via a car park! Pleasant couple of hours.

Checked email and LJ with mum by office then home for lunch. Read ebook and snoozed until supper then spent an hour trying to get Dad's audio book, in mp3 format, copied from cd to USB. Didn't manage it due to faulty memory stick.

Then spent two hours python programming, walking to reception and uploading work to coursera.org web site before deadline.

Bed 11:25!

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Fri 5 Oct
Up at 9:00, went to Javea for brunch (without dad) did some shopping as Scallops opened at 11:00 vouchers for breakfast.

Had full English breakfast then home. Fitted new hooks to doors. Read Ebooks most of the day.
Then after supper bed.

Sat 6 Oct
Up 9:00 had breakfast. Mum, C and I went shopping bought some food and shower fitting, to allow water to spray down not across. Read after lunch.
Continued reading all afternoon. Around 6:30 we all went to Javea coast and had pizza and beer at Pizza Premium for 7€, thin crust pizza with bacon and pepperoni fairly tasty and good value.

Back home by 8:00 all had hot chocolate.
In bed by 9:00

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Day Two

Oct. 6th, 2012 04:03 pm
mbernardi: (Default)

Thu 4 Oct
Up at 9:15 toast for breakfast. Mum and I went to reception to use their wifi connection (very long ID code), mum went off in the car after twenty minutes I stayed until 2:15, caught up on email, LJ and Python course. Mum and sis already back. The latter went to the pool while I had lunch, to the local shop for fruit and wifi sync.

Snoozed a bit, read. T the villa management person came over.

Made dinner with sister C, microwave failed! Manage to make an edible meal.

Then she and I went for a walk along the beach front. When we arrived at 7:50 it was overcast but still light, by 8:30 it was black.

After getting home we walked to the pool, flamenco dancing in the restaurant near by, stayed listening for a while then back home via an illuminated fountain.

Read until 11:00 when I went to bed.

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Day One

Oct. 5th, 2012 08:46 pm
mbernardi: (Default)

Thu 4 Oct
Up at 9:15 toast for breakfast. Mum and I went to reception to use their wifi connection (very long ID code), mum went off in the car after twenty minutes I stayed until 2:15, caught up on email, LJ and Python course. Mum and sis already back. The latter went to the pool while I had lunch, to the local shop for fruit and wifi sync.

Snoozed a bit, read. T the villa management person came over.

Made dinner with sister C, microwave failed! Manage to make an edible meal.

Then she and I went for a walk along the beach front. When we arrived at 7:50 it was overcast but still light, by 8:30 it was black.

After getting home we walked to the pool, flamenco dancing in the restaurant near by, stayed listening for a while then back home via an illuminated fountain.

Read until 11:00 when I went to bed.

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mbernardi: (Default)

Wed 3 Oct
Up 5:15 tidied lounge! Caught 6:15 to Gatwick, met sis at North Terminal, zone G at 6:55 (took a while to recognise her due to fuzzy focusing), when she had to help disability assistance with the parents.

Through security (with 2 wheelchairs) by 7:25. Started boarding 7:55 (parents first) in last 20 on board 8:15. Free seating, at the back. Took off 8:40 only 15 minutes after scheduled.

Arrived Valencia 10:35/11:35 and through passport control to luggage claim by 11:50. Major problem finding the hire car company as an incomplete printout was made.
Finally left the airport at 1:00

Stopped to do some food shopping when nearly to Javea.

Got to Toscamar 3:15, reception shut so no water or electricity until it opens at 4:00!

Water and electricity turned on, fridge/freezer not working!

At about 5:30 left for beach, to get a meal at Scallops where we had three course meals with water and wine for €41 (with 3 bottles of wine to take home). I had spicy potato wedges, followed by steak pie and mash, with peas and carrots. The finish I had profiteroles. Back home for 7:45 and we were all a bed by 8:30.

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Both my thumbs are hurting more and more, the left more than the right. I have an appointment to get checked when I get back from Spain.

On my first Monday back from the US I saw ParaNorman (PG) at the Orion Cinema, on low cost Monday so it was only £4.60, I got home around 8:00. I installed python for coursera.org online programming course, that had just started.

On Wednesday I bought a powered USB hub (to be used with my raspberry pi that I re-ordered from element 14), a book and a BK whopper meal. Read in the library for an hour before going to dance class. After finishing the beginners class the teacher suggested I move to the next class as there was someone in need of a partner. I stayed in an extra 1:15hr and paired up with J (who had just got back from Chicago!)

Not as good a pairing as K & I but time will tell.

Got an audio visual adapter for iPod allowing YouTube and native Video to be played through a TV. BBC iPlayer doesn't work though.

Started a cold, taking antihistamines to reduce symptoms.

Last Saturday was the end of month dance, to which I went. I got paired with P from the beginners class. Did cha cha, rumba, waltz and quickstep. Also the rumba one sequence dance. Didn't try foxtrot.

Spent most of Sunday asleep, back to work on Monday. On Tuesday the day before flying to Spain I manage to forget my keys and didn't realise till I got home! So I had to go all the way back to work (3 staff were still working) then home I got back 3 hours after leaving work the first time!!

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Going Home
Woke up 7:30, checked email & LJ down to breakfast 8:15 where I had waffle fingers, bagel and cream cheese, coffee, OJ, cereal and a croissant. Sat with two youngsters ;)
Posted to LJ and finished off with a muffin and apple.

Finished packing and checked out at 10:10. Got to Jackson on Blue line at 10:15, used last $2.25 on my CTA cardand caught train to O'Hare 10:18.

Arrived at O'Hare 11:10 checked bag at US Airways then through security, (when I realised I'd left my keys in checked luggage,) arrived at gate F8 by 11:45 (no wifi in the area and iffy power).

Bought a strawberry shake at McCafe for $3.10, actually very tasty.

After an hour wait boarded US Airlines flight 907 to Charlotte at 1:40 and got to seat 15C by 1:45
Took off 2:07 only 12min after schedule, flight 1:30 long.

Landed at Charlotte 3:31CT/4:31ET
Deplaned 4:50 bought cigs for D from duty free America then had a BK Whopper meal. Checked in at gate D11 at 5:30.

Got on the plane 5:50, took off at 6:44 only 20 minutes late. A fault originally thought to delay by an hour was fixed in a timely manner.

Started to watch Gnomeo & Juliet dinner served 12:50BST / 7:50ET
Film finished 2:15BST

Tried to sleep for 4 hours woken at 5:45 for breakfast, bagel with grape jelly and orange juice.

Watched Prophets of Sci-Fi: George Lucas finished 6:30.
Landed at Gatwick 7:15am local time.
Deplaned and through passport control by 7:40, used biometric scanner exit.

Baggage claim took 20min for bag to appear but out by 8:08 queued to get ticket 8:21 to Ore. Home by 9:00 to an empty fridge and a pile of letters and packages from amazon (and my Raspberry Pi case but no Pi yet).

Watched two episodes of Warehouse 13 then to bed for a few hours before going to the chiropractor and to get my glasses repaired.

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Woke up 8:30, down to breakfast 8:45 where I had waffle fingers, bagel and cream cheese, coffee, OJ, cereal and a croissant. Sat with a Finnish retiree.
Finished watching the Warehouse 13 webisodes. Posted to LJ synced all my photos from iPod to Dropbox.

Left hostel around 11:30 and walked south along Michigan then through Grant Park and the Museum campus to the Field Museum.

Arrived and got my hand stamped for standard access (no exhibitions) but even in nearly five hour I didn't see everything.

Managed to loose my Dendarii Free Mercenaries hat ;-( reported to lost property but I doubt it will turn up before I fly home tomorrow.

Walked back to hostel via lake shore, got back at about 5:30, had an ice-cream at DQ Chill & Grill then showered and changed.

Got to Buddy Guy's Ledgends at 700 Wabash at about 8:20. Ordered cup of Louisiana Style Gumbo with cornbread, rice and a Honker's Ale (actually nice served cold, reminiscent of Newcastle Brown). Total cost $8.54, actually left $10 including tip.

At 8:35 cover charge was requested $5 with 50% off coupon.

Got a second Ale on the house as I got a cup of gumbo not a bowl!

First set by Jimmy Burns ended after an hour and twenty at 9:45. Started the second set at 10:00 and after ten minutes first open mike started. Left at that point. Got jelly donut then back to hostel, read in bed, until 11:40.

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Woke up 7:20, showered,checked email and LJ then down to breakfast 8:15 where I had waffle fingers, bagel and cream cheese, coffee, OJ, cereal and a croissant.

Updated my LJ and finished book from hostel library. Discovered D wanted XXL t-shirts so had to return two shirts to CVS and get larger size. Also got some postcards.

By this time it's after noon so got an ice cream from DQ.

Walked to Buckingham Fountain at 1:00 stayed for a while waiting fir the tall jet stream. Then walked along the lake shore, past all the various boats and ships to the Navy Pier arriving at 2:00. Went to check the IMAX but the film didn't start for two hours and cost $16, so I decided against it. While there a Jazz/Blues group played, and I stayed to listen.

On leaving the Navy Pier I walked west on Illinous to Michigan when I made my way to the river. Stopped at the Chicago Tribune building, which has bits of rocks from all over, attached to the walls.

After crossing the river I spent some time in the Bridgehouse museum (free) which told the history of the river and waterways and how this effected the development of Chicago.
Then along Wacker and left St Clark to
Ronny's Original Steakhouse at 100 W Randolph St (next to the L station). I had an 8oz T-bone steak, salad with French dressing, baked potato, and a can of coke, total cost $11.36. The meat was rather well done for medium.

Due to being tired I took the Blue Line from Clark/Lake (no connection for other lines) back to the hostel at 5:00, to discover the Chicago Summer Dance started with an hour of teaching at 4:00! Which I missed. Sped off and got to the park / dance area around 5:15. Due to not knowing the US style and painful blisters, I didn't dance, but I did get a free CD and listened to the cool "Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra", playing vintage ballroom.
Finished at 7:00 and was back to the hostel by 7:15.

Used EeePC to purchase a 28 day metro bus pass. Caught up on new email.
Went for a DQ Blizzard cookie dough double fudge medium with $1 off coupon. Back to bed watched first 4 Warehouse 13 webisodes, "Grand Designs" (not available in UK) and then too sleep.

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Woke up 7:30, checked email and LJ then down to breakfast 8:15 where I had waffle fingers, bagel and cream cheese, coffee, OJ, cereal and a croissant.

Updated my LJ and played a bit with my new iPod, it's awesome! It's only minus is it has slightly less available storage but it can all be backed up to iCloud.

Read a bit. Discovered that the CVS across the road from the hostel sells cheap t-shirts and got 7 for $25.69! The Chicon 7 shirt was selling for $20.

Left again at 11:00 walked up State which was closed for Open Space day, games and activities all down the road. If not for my blistered feet, and aching bones...

Got to the river just in time for the Wendella boats Lake and River tour got my ticket from the vending machine for $26+tax, for a 90 minute tour. I think I was the last aboard. The ship was called Lila.

First we went away from the lake along the Chicago River, at the Willis Tower (near Jackson) we turned around and headed lakeward.

The Chicago river is one of a kind because it's surface is about 30cm lower than Lake Michigan ie the lake drains into the river. There is a lock in place to reduce outflow. Also all the water for Chicago and surrounding is provided by Michigan.

Took a fair few minutes for water levels to equalise and then there were the views of the city. I took a number of pictures on my iPod and wished my camera battery hadn't died. At least I had some photos.

Returned through the lock then docked at Trump Tower, this took five minutes, without this time the trip was only 85 minutes!

From there I walked via Wacker, State and Lake to Lake / Clark on the Blue line. This is usually a transfer station, but all these lines were unavailable due to L refurbishment (this was why the roads were closed last night).

Caught the train to O'Hare and got off at Montrose. I then had to follow a google maps printout to the Portage Theatre, 4050 North Milwaukee Ave, IL 60641. Arrived at 3:00 to be told doors open at 6:00!

I'd passed an IHOP on my way so backtracked (open 24/7) and ordered a stack of five pancakes and coffee.

The never-ending coffee was only 3 cups, but I did get an ice water without asking. Total $8.97, I was there for about an hour.

Then wandered around six corners, discovered iPod camera doesn't work if the charge is too low.

Read for a bit after finding some seats by a bus stop, and then finding a bus stop with chairs right outside the Theatre.

Can't Stop the Serenity
At 6:00 went in got ticket and patch (photo ID required).

Charity screening of Serenity for Equality Now and House if the Good Shepherd.

The Portage Theater is in 6 corners and is a fairly large single auditorium it even has a organ to accompany silent movies. I sat four rows from the front a) so I could hear when the sound system wasn't used and b) I could see the screen through the correct part of my varifocals.

At 7:00 the performance started with an improv story "The Verse: Another Firefly Story" it's Eli Cobb's birthday.... With a band (and episodes on YouTube).

7:45 thanks from Mary Coffey of House of the Good Shepherd

8:00 intermission, I bought a bag of buttered popcorn, priced at $3 and actually cost $3 (usually tax is added to price displayed).

8.15 door prizes given out. Silent auction ended, costume contest (3 prizes). Actual live auction, lots of cool stuff, if I'd had space I might have bid as a fair few items went for low prices. Though there were a few bidding wars. At the end of this section there were more door prizes. And I won one. (by this time there wasn't much left, so I picked out glow in the dark brackets.

9:15 final intermission

And then at 9:30 the main feature "Serenity" I hadn't watched it since it's original release, it was still awesome, though some lines of foreshadowing were particularly poignant.

The film finished at 11:30 but outside it was raining / drizzling. I put on my pale sweatshirt for visibility and warmth.

Got to Montrose as a train Loopward arrived, caught it with the last credit on my CTA card, left station 11:48 arrived at Jackson 12:14 got a bit turned around, but back to hostel and in bed by 12:40.

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Woke up 6:30, checked email and LJ then down to breakfast 7:25 where all food was available. After cleaning up read some. Just after 9 (3BST) got a skype call from D. Voice quality was good and he apparently got good video of me.

Raining so put on my coat to walk to the Cultural Center, for a 10:00 a 15 minute wait ( I got there early) our guide Joe took us round the center then of most of the same stops I'd done on my two previous tours. However we got nuggets of history and I got to use the camera on my iPod. Of the five people who started I was the only one who stayed to the end at Daley Plaza.

Back to cultural enter to discover a lunchtime concert started at 12:10.
So stayed to listen, for 45 min.

Walked north on Michigan along the agnificent Mile! Stopped at 444 for a Garden Gate Scrambler with potato side and soda for $9.72 finished at 2:00. Continued up Michigan to the John Hancock Center, and discovered Best Buys had a store there. They even had the iPod Touch for sale at $10 less, and a charger for $5 less than I paid at Radio Shack, but it looks much less cool.

As recommended by guide Joe I went to the Signature Lounge at the 96th floor. (This was two floors higher than the observatory), bought a Bud Lite for $8.31 (less than the observatory price) and since it was misty you couldn't see too far. Millennium Park was hidden by intervening skyscrapers.

Back to hostel via the Red Line (Chicago to Jackson) by 3:45.
My CTA card needs a top up as I only have two trips ($4.50) left and I have a minimum of 3 train journeys to do.

Slept and read in bed for a couple of hours then went back to Al's for a Maxwell Polish hot dog, with frys which cost $4.98 on the way back a number of streets were being blocked off including Wabash.

Went to DQ for desert, had a mini blizzard with oreo cookies, very tasty. Decided to go south to 700 Wabash a jazz / blues club, but the cover at the weekend is $20 Mon-Thu it's only $10 so I hope to return later.

Wandered east to discover that the Chicago SummerDance in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park was still on (due to start at 6:00). Live music by the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International and people gyrating on the dance floor. Left just after eight and returned to the hostel. Even more streets had been cordoned off.

Read and updated blog. Checked credit card and so far have charged:

Hostel - £343.63 (for 15 nights)
iPod charger - £16.44
Book - £7.15 (cheaper at Amazon)
Science Museum- £15.00

I could have ordered a charger from Amazon for less than £10 Inc postage, but didn't think far enough ahead.

Burst my blister and trimmed dead skin. Watched / listened to the mcah livestream from 9:15 to 10:15. Had a shower then bed around 11.00

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September 2017

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