Peter Lyons

The arrival in Park City

February 11, 2008

Well, the travel nightmare didn't quite end Monday morning. I got to the airport parking lot OK even though it started to snow again when I was still about five miles away.  The SLC airport stuff was easy and I got put onto an earlier flight.  My flight was scheduled to be 1:45 put I was at the airport by 9:30 since I just wanted to drive as soon as it was daylight, so I got on a 10:30 flight to Phoenix. I booked a layover because the HP travel booking web site shames you into it rather aggressively.  However, I failed to realize that this was the day after the Superbowl, which was in Phoenix.  In the end the football fans didn't cause any real issues.  I made my connection in Phoenix but we had a series of major delays.  First the door in the rear of the plane wouldn't close so it took technicians about forty minutes to correct that.  Then we taxied away from the gate only to hear the pilot announce a computer error with one of the engines, so we taxied back to the jetway and waited another forty minutes or so for the technicians to conclude it was not fixable.  So we were all ordered to collect our carry-on luggage and get off.  Back to the terminal.  Long hike to terminal B where another plane was waiting.  Of course, it was a full flight and there had been a lot of last minute seat switching, so now we're waiting to board the replacement plane and some people have either moved seats or lost their boarding cards.  You can smell the impending chaos.  Anyway, randomly, the staff decide we're going to re-board in alphabetical order (the staff doesn't seem to improvise that well), so they call letter "A", at which point sixty percent of the passengers line up to board.  So they start boarding and never call any additional letters, and it becomes clear that the staff is out of ideas and it's time for "OK, everyone just get on the plane now".  I think perhaps the new boarding system should have three phases: First, any aggressive/assertive people, then average wishy-washy people, then any passive/patient people.  That's basically what ended up happening anyway.  So with all this instead of leaving around 2:00 pm, I think we left just before 6:00pm.

OK, that's the end of the travel nightmare blogging.  So on Tuesday I gave my presentation to the boot camp training we were having, with about sixty people in attendance.  That went fine and there was a good amount of Q&A.  Plus I got to see a few of the guys from other regions or EMEA that I rarely see, which was nice.

It was otherwise a good week of work in Sunnyvale.  We went rock climbing Wednesday night but my buddy failed his belay test so we ended up having to boulder, which was OK by me since I had been mostly bouldering in Boulder last month.

Friday night I went out to dinner with Bogdan from Romania, whom I had met on my trip to Romania in October, and another colleague based in Germany.  We had Japanese food.  Somehow Bogdan, in the US for the second time ever, had a small network or Romanian contacts, so we were soon joined by two other Romanias at dinner.  We then went to shoot some pool, and again were joined by two additional Romanians.  So it ended up being me, a German, and five Romanians.

Saturday I flew uneventfully back to Salt Lake City and then drove the twenty miles to Park City.  I met my landlord Gunter, who was exceedingly gracious.  he showed me the house, which is a really fantastic place with great light, a gas fireplace, and a whirlpool tub.  He also had a nice dinner of lobster bisque and spaghetti with ragu sauce to heat up, which we both enjoyed.  It was very clear that Gunter is a well-traveled and educated man who is in the habit of making fast friends with a wide variety of people, and we both were very willing to scratch each other's back as it were.  So after dinner we shared some of the cookies and biscotti Elise baked me and I helped him get his WiFi network secured and update his anti virus software on his desktop and laptop computers.

This morning Gunter made us waffles then we headed to Park City Mountain Resort (5 miles away!) for my first ever day of Utah skiing.  Gunter has skied Utah for twenty years and worked as a ski instructor at Deer Valley, so he really knows the mountain.  We covered almost all of it to some degree, including a few steps hiking to the Jupiter Bowl.  The weather was just gorgeous - clear skies, bright sun, and no wind.  By the afternoon I was skiing with my jacket unzipped and my mittens folded down.  Gunter took off around 1:00 to go run some errands in Park City and then take the bus home.  I stopped for lunch then skied some more in the afternoon on my own.

After a quick nap and shower, we heading into Salt Lake City for a faculty chamber music concert at University of Utah School of Music.  There was first a modern piece for viola and cimbalom, which I enjoyed, then a Chopin piano work and a Dvorák String Quintet.  I particularly liked the Chopin piece.

So now I'm mostly settled in Park City.  Gunter will be here two more days then he leaves for Singapore on Tuesday night.  I have also booked my next rental house in Boise, Idaho starting March 8.