Day-parking at Bonnaroo

I rarely pander to an audience, but I can see that a lot of people have been finding my blog lately by searching for some variation of “Bonnaroo day parking.”

So in the interest of helping my fellow Bonnaroo-goers out, let me tell you about day-parking: It is awesome.

More to the point, if you aren’t big on camping in the middle of a giant field with no tree cover for three to four days and live relatively close (or are thinking of getting a hotel reservation nearby), the day-parking situation is fucking great.

I live about 20-30 minutes from Bonnaroo (depending on traffic—driving in from Murfreesboro is generally busier than leaving), and day-parking last year was the best decision I made besides choosing to eat the gourmet pizza every day. I love camping, but I do not love camping in the blazing heat for several days with no shower or refuge from the sun. My sister and I drove in and out every day, and it was great.

Depending on how early you get in, you will have about a mile to a mile-and-a-half walk from day-parking to the entrance of Bonnaroo. It’s really not bad at all, but be prepared to not be able to just run out to your car quickly in case you forget something you wanted to bring in with you. I carried a Camelbak backpack with water, snacks and other supplies, and only once did I have to come back to the car (Emily and I got cold and went back for our hoodies later one night).

When you drive in the first day, tell the people who are checking your car for contraband (they will do this every day but it gets, ahem, more lax as the days go by) that you’re day-parking. They will tell you which way to go, and you’ll end up in a very large field where the parking volunteers will wave you into your parking spot. It’s probably a good idea to tie a helium-filled balloon to your car so that you can find it easily when you’re leaving later that night, because the field fills up with cars and you will be disoriented.

Optimus Prime guided us to the car Thursday through Saturday night

The walk to Bonnaroo from day parking is lined with food and drink vendors, and you’ll pass by the car-campers, port-a-crappers and some first aid tents, too. The walk back to day-parking is well-lit at night, and I never felt concerned for my or my sister’s safety last year. I mean, be alert, of course, but you’re not going to be walking down a pitch-black gravel road for a mile.

Bottom line: If you’re considering day-parking because you live or will be staying close by and value cleanliness and air-conditioning, go for it.

In my element

Today I wore a t-shirt with 15 different NES games on it, and then when I got into work I was asked if I knew what an IRC chat was. And I was all, “You mean the old school chat rooms?! Hell yeah, that shit was my jam back in college!” And so I was invited into an IRC chatroom with the developers that I work with and we were all “/me vomits” and “/me kicks [another developer] in the nuts” and changing our nicknames, just like it was 1997 again and I was in the computer lab in the basement of Lyon Hall at MTSU.

Oh, and then I was asked to provide sound clips of this guy yelling “BOB SAGET!” and “BALLS!” so that they could play throughout the office when certain events happen on our servers.

And yeah, all those people who made fun of me for being a nerd in school can kiss my ass.

On baseball and revisiting past haunts

Ian and I

Years ago, before Ian and I started dating, we took a trip to Atlanta together to see the Braves play. We had been friends for years, but it was the first out-of-town trip we’d taken together. When we got to the hotel, I fretted a bit over the single bed they assigned us, as I had a boyfriend at the time. I didn’t fret too much, though. It was the first of several trips Ian and I would take as friends, all of which I look back on fondly. Trips that eventually bled the lines between friendship and more. That led me to see who we really were to each other.

This Atlanta trip was not my first to the city, but it was my first Braves game. His dad had gotten us pretty good seats, I recall, and afterward we took the MARTA to Underground Atlanta and hung out in this dirty, dingy Irish bar called Irish Bred. There was nothing Irish about it, but it was filled with other 20-somethings pouring cheap beer down their gullets. We found a table on their patio and made friends with some people from the University of Florida. Or maybe it was Florida State.

Eventually we paid our tab and headed to the MARTA station—on the way to which we were accompanied by a homeless man who professed to know where the best party in town was, and would we follow him there? Ian had a bit too much to drink and thought this was a great idea, but luckily he took my advice and followed me to the train station instead (where he proceeded to inform me that the way to avoid potentially dangerous situations was to “make everyone aware that you are crazier than they are,” and then he began singing L.A. Woman, specifically that he was Chief Mojo Risin’).

We visited Atlanta again in 2003, and went back several times while we were dating, but we haven’t been there since we got married in 2008. But with the news of Chipper Jones retiring, this is going to change—this summer.

I don’t think our Irish bar exists anymore, and I’m not sure Underground Atlanta has fared well over the years, but it will be fun to go back and spend some time in one of our favorite southern cities, seeing what kind of mischief we can get into. That’s the thing about being married to someone you’ve known for 15 years—you have plenty of memories to call on, but it’s effortless to make new ones, too.

Running Diablo 2 on Mac OSX Lion

In between bouts of frustration with my piece-of-crap scanner today, I got on a retro video game kick. It started with playing a few rounds of Tetris, and then I beat Super Mario Bros. 2 in about 30 minutes.

Then I decided to fire up the Diablo 3 beta, but after seeing it was still in maintenance mode and not available, I got the bright idea to see if I could get Diablo 2 to run on my MacBook Pro. With the release of Lion, Apple killed their support of PowerPC (read: pre-Intel processor) applications, referred to as Rosetta. Diablo 2 is a PowerPC game, which should mean that I am unable to play it on my MacBook Pro that runs Lion.

But the Internet is full of resourceful, clever people, and it didn’t take me long to find a way around this. There were many solutions that involved Boot Camp or partitioning my hard drive and installing an older operating system on one of the partitions, but that seemed like overkill just to play a video game for a few weeks out of nostalgia.

Luckily, I found a blog post by a guy who had a much easier way. All I had to do was download the Windows (not Mac) installer from Blizzard (made possible by entering my original CD keys at Blizzard’s Battle.net), download the free trial of an application called CrossOver by CodeWeavers, and then use that program to install the Windows version of Diablo 2 and play it.

It’s not perfect—I can’t play the game in fullscreen and the default window is pretty tiny. I couldn’t play through the whole game like this for sure. The application is $40, too—not an investment I would be willing to make unless fullscreen was available, and even then I don’t know that it would be worth it. I’ve only got to wait a couple more months for Diablo 3, and I have plenty of other video games waiting on me to play them.

But it was neat to revisit Diablo 2 and my favorite of its classes, the Amazon. I logged onto Battle.net in-game, too, and it was kind of sad to see how the chat had devolved into nothing but spam. I’d heard Blizzard wasn’t really policing their servers, and it shows. Hopefully Diablo 3 will be better managed.

Diablo 2

Do not buy a Canon CanoScan LiDE 110 scanner

I got up early today (around 8:30 a.m.—early for me on a weekend) with the intent to scan a bunch of old pictures my mom brought to me over Thanksgiving. These photos are from back when she was a kid, and some are even from when my grandmother (who passed away last April at 94) was young.

I had purchased a Canon scanner back in the fall so that I would be able to scan in these and other photos, but I have never been able to get it to work correctly. I figured today would be the day I’d figure it out.

Yeah, well, that didn’t exactly go as planned. The auto-crop function of the scanner only works with one or two scans before shitting the bed, which is just not acceptable. It would be bad enough to have to manually crop every single picture I scanned, but a white line also appeared in every scan.

Canon scanner sucks

I had emailed Canon back in the fall for help, and they suggested I uninstall and reinstall the drivers. I did this, and the white line disappeared and the picture was auto-cropped. For one or two images. Then it would just stop auto-cropping, and the white line would pop up. Sometimes there would be a black line accompanying it.

Eventually, through lots of testing and patience-wearing-thin moments, I determined that in order for the scanner to function correctly I would have to uninstall and reinstall the drivers (two of them) after every one or two scans.

Uh, yeah. Not going to happen. I emailed Canon again and they suggested I “toggle the lock back and forth a dozen times and reseat the USB cable.” For shits and giggles I did this, along with restarting the computer several times. And as I’m sure you’ve guessed, this didn’t work.

So they’re sending out a box for me to ship the scanner back to them, and they will send me a refurbished model in exchange. I’m irritated that despite the fact that this scanner is essentially brand-new and unused and still under warranty, I am unable to receive a new replacement. But at this point, I’m so frustrated that this is a better option than throwing it in the garbage, which is what I was going to do.

I’m going to give the refurb that they send me one chance. After that I’m going to start calling people at Canon until I get a damn refund.

Best. News. Ever.

The Diablo 3 release date was announced! The game will be available for download or retail purchase on May 15, 2012. (More details in the official press release.)

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!

Now I just have to entertain myself with the beta for two more months. To say I’m excited would be an understatement, but I’m sure you could’ve guessed that.

Last week I was in California

And it was AMAZING. I’d never been before, but I was lucky enough to get to go for a conference at which my company was exhibiting. I flew out a couple days early to spend the weekend exploring on my own.

I stayed in San Jose, rented a car and spent Saturday afternoon at the Computer History Museum and that evening with my cousin Christina and her family. Sunday I drove up to San Francisco and tooled around Haight-Ashbury, the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods.

Monday morning, before returning the rental car, I drove up to Cupertino and visited my Mecca—Apple headquarters. It sounds so silly, but I almost teared up when I saw the 1 Infinite Loop sign. I wanted to punch (out of jealousy) and hug (out of love for their work) each employee I saw going into the buildings. Oh, and I spent about half of my mortgage payment at the Company Store.

The rest of the week was spent working the company booth with two of my co-workers, and as boring as that might sound to some people I had a lot of fun.

I want to come back here and write more about my whole experience so I don’t forget it because it was an amazing time, but I still need to cull through all of the photos I took. Isn’t it funny how vacation photos were once a torture device used on friends and family members, but now thanks to the Internet they’re almost expected?

I won’t be offended if you don’t look through them. But they’re going up, eventually. I don’t want to think back in a few years and not be able to remember how lucky I felt to be in the part of a state I’d wanted to visit my entire life. I missed Ian and the cats a ton, but damn: It was a really, really great trip.