Monday, September 6, 2010

For those who came in late:

Everyone can take a breath now-

PAX 2010 is over, and as the last of the weary gamers and fanboys work their ways slowly through airport security, Chris, along with his dufflebag o'swag, found himself watching the landscape fly by. Going to PAX is always a thrill; going as an Omeganaut is truly an experience. Chris was pushing through the rounds in fine style all day Saturday, and Sunday morning found him exhausted but having made it to the final four contestants. Unfortunately, he was eliminated after two rounds of high speed play, and the last two warriors advanced to the final game. "Kwolff", the gamer who bested Chris, went on to win the final round.
Kudos to Chris, however, for an exciting run! Now, back to Maxwell AFB and the drudgery of the workplace, until October, when we hope to see him in South Carolina for Ian's graduation.

San Francisco Saga

The last day of Mrs. Hall's stay on the west coast, she dined again with Colleen and one of her roomies for breakfast. Colleen was insistent that before Mrs. Hall departed that they drive up to Emeryville and scope out Pixar industries, the employer of Colleen's dreams. "But it's a closed campus- they say right on their website that visitors are not allowed!" protested Mrs. H. but it was to deaf ears. Piling in the little black car, they listened dutifully to "Lee" their GPS guide, and then took a different route entirely. They arrived at the gate of Pixar, only to find it immersed in a major construction project. Undaunted by sign or sentry, Colleen strolled around the outside perimeter of the property first and then up to the guard. He politely declined to let them inside but allowed her to snap some pictures.
After leaving Emeryville, they spent the rest of the day checking out the parking situation and ticking off all the loose chores on their list. Finally, tired and full of yummy Asian noodle soup from a charming bistro near Lake Merritt, they waited for the airport shuttle back at the hotel. "Good luck to you, Colleen" sighed Mrs. Hall as she hugged her before they parted. Colleen smiled. To Mrs. H. it appeared she seemed just a tad more confident than before they left; possibly because she was in the good hands of her traveling companions, "Lee", her fuzzy Totoro backpack and her ever present coffee cup- but more likely because in the last week she had really grown up.

Fair Play

All the while Mrs. Hall had been in California, the temperatures in Central New York had been blistering. So it was a pleasant surprise when, upon returning to the Syracuse area, she found that she had brought the lovely cool breezes along with her. Instead of the 90 degree plus heat the fair goers had been struggling with, they enjoyed a seasonal 73 and cool relieving broken cloud cover.
All the usual attractions were there: the butter sculpture in the Dairy Barn (not as nice as last year's, judged Mrs. Hall) and the sand sculpture in the Century of Progress Building (very amusing, remarked Mr. Hall) but overall, the cows and the draft horses and the spiedie huts seemed well, just a little tired this year. They had missed most of the headliners, as Mr. Hall had declined to attend until Mrs. Hall returned from California. "Feel like something to eat?" asked Mr. H. as he steered them towards the Dinosaur BBQ concession. "Alright, but I have to save room for dessert." Mrs. Hall was saving herself for her once a year indulgence: Sugar Waffles. Ever since her first encounter with them at Elmira's famous Eldridge Park many years ago, sugar waffles' crispy hot goodness have always held the ability to conjure up memories of childhood fun and joy. Dropping powdered sugar as they went, they strolled past the living statues and the kiddie midway. New this year: the water bubbles, which when filled with hot air, allowed the youngsters to roll and walk across the pools. It was only by the sternest reproach that Mr. Hall was able to dissuade Mrs. Hall from getting in the line for that amusement. "I'm sure those were only meant for the little ones" he reminded her. For a while they seemed to be followed by the same giant banana with Rastafarian dreadlocks, but then they found the midway game that was (apparently) practically giving them away. Again, it was only through Mr. Hall's solid good sense that one of them did not make it to the big black car. Just as they were exiting the Time Warner building, however, Mrs. Hall turned and said, "Cerie?" A young, blonde charmer at one of the tables, answered back, "You know, I answer to that now all the time!" Kristen Bowman, who plays the character of Cerie Xerox on the hit comedy show 30 Rock was there to sign autographs for the fair goers, but there was no one around. Bypassing the opportunity to comment on the state of CNY's viewing public, Mrs. Hall walked up to the table and engaged the young actress in a conversation. She graciously posed for a photo with the Halls and penned a personal message to them on a photo.
After that, they just meandered about, watching the baby seals perform and stopping by the State Police booth to harass some of Mr. Hall's old buddies. "Are we good for another year?" asked a weary Mr. Hall as they waited for the parking lot shuttle. "I would say so." came the reply. With the rain forming just to the west of them, the Halls slid into the big black car and scurried on home to the comforts of the Hall.

And just in case you were wondering:

Something sinister must have happened to the second, more slight of the two fledgling pumpkins in the front yard, for when Mrs. Hall returned from her trip and went out to photograph their progress, there remained only one pumpkin thriving. However, the remaining squash seemed well on its way to maturity. Shown here, for the Gentle Viewer's pleasure, are recent updates on its growth.

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