I have landed safely in Madison. Jennifer got me to the airport by nine this morning and my flight didn't leave until 10:44, which meant that I didn't have to rush around like a crazy commuter. After finding my window seat I was slightly dismayed when a rather large older women sat in the aisle seat and plunked her hefty bible (the "red letter" edition) on the seat between us. Here I am on my way to an atheist's convention and I'm seated next to a full-fledged Christian. Fortunately for me the middle seat was filled by a rather hirsute gentlemen, who played solitaire on his cell phone the entire flight. I had about an hour layover at O'Hare until the small jet plane left for Madison. Soon we were taxiing out of the terminal, but we soon stopped and the captain announced that something was wrong with his chair and we would need to return to the terminal to allow a technician to board the plane and make the necessary repairs. I don't think the captain's chair was reclining, or something. After an hour delay we were on our way to the "Berkeley of the Midwest." I'm told that's how they refer to the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Upon arriving I called the hotel from the courtesy phone, but I needn't have worried, because about three or four other passengers had already called for transport and the shuttle bus arrived at the airport within five minutes. Check-in was quick and easy and I was soon in the Ovations restaurant on the first floor of the hotel waiting for a someone to pay attention to me. My waitress finally arrived and apologized for leaving me hanging. I ordered a local beer on tap called Spotted Cow, which was quite good, although I had to dispose of the lemon wedge that accompanied my glass. For dinner I ordered roasted chicken breast with a chutney topping and rosemary polenta. I guess the presentation was what made the dish worth $18, because I was still hungry after the meal. I stopped at the bar (which is called The Bar) and ordered one more Spotted Cow, while I continued to read Angels Flight. The bar was cursed with two TVs. One was stuck on the weather channel and the other was obviously glued to a sports channel. A table near me was filled with four women of Indian descent. There's something about an Indian accent. I could have sat there and listened to them talk all night. Another table was filling up with wine drinking men in business suits. I also realized that the bar menu was more suitable to my tastes: burgers, fries and pizza. But that's for next time. I left the bar after one beer with about ten pages left to read. I got up to my room about ten o'clock and the message light on the phone was flashing. Jen had already called and left me a message. I think she was hoping that I would get to talk to Justin on the phone before she put him to bed, but no luck. I called her back, but the phone info in the room states that an average 4 minute long distance call costs about $7.80, so I think I have to have Jen call me back next time to save a few dollars.
I met one gentlemen from Gig Harbor on the shuttle bus to the hotel that is here to attend the FFRF convention. We chatted some on the ride to the hotel. This is his second convention. He attended last year's event in San Francisco. While I was eating dinner I couldn't help overhearing the elderly woman in the hat at the adjacent table, who was talking on her cell phone during my entire meal. She was talking about the FFRF convention, the latest insane rant by Ann Coulter, and the fact that she was on her third glass of Shiraz and hadn't decided what to order for dinner yet. She was the main reason that I decided to take my second beer at the bar, rather than in the restaurant.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the first official day of the convention. It starts off with an open house at the FFRF building, where I hear that there will be complimentary hors d'ouevres and desserts. How can I resist?