Monday, April 26, 2010

Greetings from Arizona

Here I sit, cooling my heels in the Sky Harbor Airport.  Over the years, I've logged quite a few hours in lovely PHX ("world's friendliest airport" -- which translates into "Free Wi-Fi," so I'm down with that) -- I remember a particularly annoying few hours as I shlepped all around this place trying to find an actual Native American thingie to bring back as a gift -- as opposed to all the cheap, fake, knock-off, Native American-style crap offered for sale in "All Things Phoenix" or whatever the hell they call the souvenir shops on this side of Security.

This evening, however, I'm planted at a computer charging station (also free) waiting for my flight, which has been delayed by about an hour.  (And grabbing a bite to eat is out because -- having just been dropped off by my parents -- I've been well-fed.)  I came here for a weekend with the folks, to celebrate my dad's birthday.  (For which they took me to a lovely resort in Sedona.  I know.  Makes no sense to me, either, but I'm not arguing with Free Weekend at a Lovely Resort in Sedona.)  

There were massages and facials and horseback riding (with dad), and a massive buffet brunch, and tasty eats all around (well, except for that crappy sports bar we stopped at on the way to resort -- which didn't even have the Suns game on -- seriously, a sports bar in Arizona not playing the Suns game -- and that same level of thought that went into their program selections also applied to purchasing food for the kitchen) and peeks through a really nifty telescope.

Note on the really nifty telescope.  The resort had "stargazing" one night, and, after dinner, my folks went out for a peek at the telescope, but I stayed in the car and waited for them because it was too effing cold and my throat was starting to hurt.  Next day, we stopped by Safeway on the way back to the resort so I could pick up a yogurt for breakfast the next morning.  And when we pull into the parking lot, there's some commotion in the parking lot behind us.  It's the same dude with a telescope that was at the resort the night before -- this night doing free viewing from the Safeway parking lot.  So this time (warmer weather), I queued up, climbed the ladder and took a peek through the scope -- it was aimed right at Saturn and I could clearly see the little round planet and its rings -- the rings looked almost like a vertical line from this angle, but it was totally cool, so I'm glad that fate put me in the path of Telescope Guy a second time.

Resort itself -- Enchantment -- was quite lovely.  Although I'd read some reviews of them that were pretty negative, and one said something about asking the desk for a DVD player.

As it turned out, we needed to ask the desk for a DVD player (I'd brought a DVD of our Awards show I wanted to show my parents).  So, the folks at the desk (who could not have been more accommodating) said they'd put a DVD player in my room.

We go back to the room.  They'd put one of those old TV/VCR/DVD player combo units on the desk in my room.  

Problem:  There's no outlet anywhere near the desk.  (Which, when you think of it, is pretty unhelpful desk-wise.)  The nearest outlet was over on the counter where the coffee maker was, and no matter how we turned the TV, the cord wouldn't reach.  And the TV was too big to fit on the counter itself.  So, you know, thanks for that DVD player.

We called the desk, explained the problem, and asked for an extension cord.

About 20 minutes later, two maintenance guys knock on my door with an extension cord.  It's big and thick and hugely insulated.

And the prongs are horizontal, rather than vertical.  The TV won't plug into it, and it won't plug into the wall.  So, that's out, too.

I went into "I will not be deterred" mode, and noticed the coffee table was actually a chest, which looked tough enough to take the weight of the TV.  I hauled the chest over right next to the counter; we put the TV on the chest; and plugged it in.  It worked!

The remote didn't.

So, we spent the next couple hours trying to watch the highlights of the DVD -- with no Fast Forward, Rewind, Pause, Menu, or Select (only Skip Forward, Skip Back, Stop and Play were on the actual TV).  It wasn't ideal, but it worked.  (But, at least I understand why that reviewer who had asked for a DVD player gave the place a negative review.)

Overall, it was a lovely weekend -- pleasant escape from work and petty daily annoyances, and some nice "bonding time" with the folks.

And, unfortunately, another hour to kill in the Phoenix Airport. 

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