September 2002

L’Assiette Champenoise

by Michael Alderete on 9/29/2002

While our trip to France began poorly, fortunately for our sanity, we quickly recovered. Driving from Charles De Gaulle to our hotel just outside of Reims took about two hours, with only one wrong turn, quickly realized and corrected.

And our hotel, L’Assiette Champenoise, was wonderful. We checked in, dragged our bags to our room, and headed straight for the bar (we needed, and deserved, it).

Settling in at a table in the hotel bar, we ordered glasses of (what else?) champagne, and reviewed the hotel restaurant’s menu. We had reservations for dinner there the next night, and had originally not planned to eat there more than once. But it was also much later than we’d planned to get in, and we had no energy for going out to find something else to eat. Plus, the menu looked really good.

So, we decided to eat. We were seated immediately, and had a wonderful meal. Regrettably, in our addled state, we forgot to bring our camera, and so did not photograph our meal. All I can tell you is I started with a wonderful slice of terrine of fois gras, that it was outstanding, and that it was my favorite part of the meal. (Get used to this; my favorite thing is always the fois gras.)

Our dinner was accompanied by a bottle of the same delightful champagne we’d started in the bar with. It had a beautiful ruby hue, a much deeper red than most rosé champagnes usually take. Again regrettably, we neglected to write down the name, and have only the vaguest idea of what it was.

Sated and much more relaxed, we tottered off to bed — and (once again) regrettably forgot to put the Do Not Disturb sign on our door.

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How many sides does your underwear have?

by Michael Alderete on 9/25/2002

Our trip to France included some of the worst travel experiences either Rochelle or I have had. We didn’t have a non-stop flight, flying from SFO to London Heathrow, and then to Charles De Gaulle in a second plane. On the flight out, the airline lost three of our four checked bags. Yes, 75% of our luggage did not arrive in France when we did; only Rochelle’s gear got there as expected.

One of the missing bags arrived on the next flight (from Heathrow to CDG), about an hour and a half later. That was the empty hard-sided suitcase we had brought so we could stuff it full of champagne to bring home.

We waited another hour and a half, for the next flight after that, but no more bags appeared. The airline said they couldn’t find them in the system, which meant they’d gotten lost when changing planes (as we very nearly did; our two flights were too close together, and we had to run through Heathrow, something we’ve vowed never to do again).

So we picked up our rental car and drove to Reims, two hours away, and checked into our hotel, sans all of my clothing, and both of our toiletries kits.

Now, the experienced traveler will no doubt tsk tsk, and suggest we were traveling too heavy, and not very smart, by not having at least our essentials as carry-ons. But we were ambitious in what we wanted to be able to bring back (we’ll get to that in another post), and our packing strategy made sense, at least at the start.

Still, after two more days, my bag had not arrived. After turning my shorts inside-out the second day, I was at a loss for what to do on the third. And the shirt I was wearing, for the third day, was starting to get rank. Finally my suitcase arrived, and I was able to change — but not before I broke down and bought new socks, underwear, and shirts.

But that’s not all! My bag took three days to show up, but the fourth never did. Which is astonishing, because it was an empty box. Well, not really empty. It was a very thick cardboard shipping box with styrofoam inserts molded to contain and protect a full case of champagne (I told you we were ambitious). These shipping packs are relatively easy to get in the US, but impossible to find in France — and god knows we tried. This made the lost item almost priceless. We literally were unable to replace it.

And we had to try. Because the airline told us that they had lost it, and since it was an “empty” box, it had no value (to them), so they wouldn’t even look for it. Indeed, even if they accidentally found it, because it was empty, they would just destroy it instead of trying to give it back to us!

You want to hear the most amazing, and appalling, part of the story?

We were flying Virgin Atlantic. Yes, that supposedly Nirvana in the sky, the airline everyone wants to emulate, Virgin Atlantic Airways totally fucked us on our luggage.

I’ll have quite a bit more to write about Virgin Atlantic; this is only the flight to France. But the summary is we’re never flying Virgin again.

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Vacation in France

by Michael Alderete on 9/24/2002

Yes, we just got back from 16 days in France. Yes, we took a lot of photos. Yes, we have a lot to write about. And yes, we’re behind on putting these up.

Rochelle will write the commentary to the photos, while I’ll post a bunch of stuff here. Look for it over the next couple weeks, starting this weekend.

Of course, there would already be stuff posted if my damn server hadn’t died while we were gone…

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France 16, Mexico 3

by Michael Alderete on 9/24/2002

Our trip in France lasted 16 days, and we obviously ate a lot of French food. Which was wonderful, but it’s time for a rest.

So today I ate Mexican food for the third day in a row. Mexican is one of the cuisines you have real difficulty finding at all in France. In fact, the closest we found was a TexMex restaurant (we were too scared to eat there).

So, since we got back, I’ve been eating a lot of Mexican food. For three days straight. Well, Sunday it was only margaritas (and margaritas only)…

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More info on Archive and Install

by Michael Alderete on 9/24/2002

Apple has published a (brief) Knowledge Base document discussing the Archive and Install feature for upgrading to Jaguar. The document’s short on details; I think you’ll find my series of articles is more informative, particularly this one.

The one new bit of information is that you won’t find this option on the Mac OS X 10.2 Upgrade CD (presumably what you get through the Mac OS Up-To-Date program for $19.95), only on the full installer CD, either the retail box version or the CDs that come with a new Mac.

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Murphy strikes

by Michael Alderete on 9/20/2002

On Monday, September 3rd, at 4pm, my flight from San Francisco to Paris took off, the beginning of a 16 day vacation in France. Approximately 20 hours later, the power supply on my server died, taking this blog, and the rest of my web sites, and my mail, and DNS, and other services, with it.

The defunct server is a Pentium 166 with 256 megs of RAM and a 2.1 gig hard disk, and qualifies as useless junk in those excess-and-salvage auctions of defunct companies that are all the rage these days.

I had all my sites and services back up and running within 2 hours of getting home, by moving the hard disk from that system to another useless PC (this one a 150MHz Cyrix system with only 80 megs of RAM), and running on it instead.

The dead server is more than 4 years old. You would think that it could have died a few hours earlier, or a few weeks later, and not caused me to be down for more than two weeks.

Ah, well…

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by Michael Alderete on 9/19/2002

Testing! Testing! Is this thing on?

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