Live from Cincinnati, Working at the Client, Seeing a Movie

My alarm went off early this morning. I rose somewhat slowly (I hadn’t quite adjusted to the time zone), but eventually found my way into the shower. That woke me up enough to get dressed, shave, and prepare my notes for this morning.

First stop was breakfast. Continental was served in the spacious (and opulent) dining area on the lobby floor. I found out shortly thereafter that I’d be far better off not eating — at nearly $18, I was quite relieved to know that I could expense it.

I returned quickly to my room to call Corey, my contact at the client site. Corey works for the backend consultant, and would be one of the people I would be working with. I dug out his number and dialled his mobile phone. He asked that I call back — he was apparently still in transit. On the second call, he gave me directions to the building where I’d be wreaking havoc trying to fix a broken system.

I’m working in a small team, all of whom have been slaving away on the installation since February. I feel sorry for them — given the amount of frustration I felt today alone, I can understand why they don’t smile a lot.

It took most of the day before I began to understand what was going on. It wasn’t anything that we (Critical Mass) had done with our code. Nor was it anything that the consultants had done. It was, or at least seemed to be, the server. The software we needed didn’t appear to be correct. Simple HTML codes were being garbled.

So, problem solved and I get to go home, right? Not quite. There’s a lot of things that are still unresolved — most notably the issue of whether or not the server is actually the problem. We don’t know. I came to that conclusion based on results we were getting from the server and my knowledge of how these things (usually) work. The consultants liked my answer, mostly because they were having so many problems, my hypothesis would explain a large part of it. However, I have yet to put it through the scientific process.

After work, I trudged my way back to the hotel. It was hot. It was humid. I’d forgotten what it was like — I’ve been gone from the East for so long, the sudden rise in temperature (and subsequent decrease in comfort) was a little surprising.

What wasn’t surprising was the city. I don’t know what it is, but Cincinnati feels and smells like … well, an American city. It’s weird. It’s the same acrid diesel-infused stench (thankfully not strong) of an industrial city. Which is odd, since Cincinnati isn’t quite as industrial as it used to be.

Returning to my room, I quickly changed into shorts, and proceeded to figure out what I would do. The answer was quick (and somewhat obvious, at least to those who know me) — a movie. Specifically, Mission: Impossible 2. (Critical Mass had to send me in opening week…) The hard part was finding a place that actually had the movie.

There are no movie theatres in downtown Cincinnati. I don’t know why. Makes no sense. The nearest theatre is five miles away … straight-line distance. It’s about 10 miles, once you count in all the turns and zigzags. It costs about US$14. So why did I bother? Well, simply put, there ain’t a heck of a lot to do in downtown Cincinnati.

The taxi driver had no idea where the Showcase Cinema was. I only knew that it was off of Route 562. The driver took off in that direction, while I attempted to narrow down the search. The major problem was that we had no real address, and for the second time since I got here, my cell phone didn’t want to dial. (A note for you Clearnet users — it has problems roaming in the States.)

We headed up I-71, looking for the turn-off onto Route 562. The driver’s instinct took over and he left the highway shortly after turning onto Route 562, into a subdivision. We pulled into a BP station, where he quickly got directions. A scarce five minutes later, we arrived at the Showcase Cinemas.

It was worth it, at least in my opinion. Certainly better than watching TV in my suite all night. And yes, the taxi was expensive, but since I ate about US$5 of food today, and will probably do same tomorrow, it’ll all eventually balance out.

I hope…