I went to Tacoma again this week for work. It was a bit of a messy trip; the ship was off schedule, so we didn’t know when it would arrive, and even after it did arrive the wind kept it from docking, so we had to change our schedule again and stay an extra night. This turned out to be a good thing for a few reasons. We left Wednesday morning, taking the 9:35 flight and arriving late in Seattle. We took our rental van down to the hotel and checked in, then went to the port to meet people there and set up the server. It was a quick and painless setup, but the ship hadn’t arrived yet, so we couldn’t collect data. We went back to the hotel and worked for a couple hours, then met for dinner. Back at the hotel I worked some more, and was occasionally interrupted by the people across the hall who had decided to get drunk and then be really dramatic.

I was up early so that we could get back to the port by 8 for data collection, and the wind from the night before had prevented the ship from docking, so again, we were left in the lurch. We made arrangements to stay another night, this time at a much nicer Marriott that was even closer, and got our flights changed as well. Then we went to check in to the new hotel and work for a few hours from there. Doug and I then had lunch downstairs at the Pacific Grill, which was tasty. After that, we went to the Chihuly Glass Museum. Unfortunately, only one of the three galleries was open, so it was fairly disappointing. The glass that we did get to see was pretty impressive, though, and there were some pieces that didn’t seem real. Next we went across the street to the Washington History Museum. This one had some substance, and there were some pretty interesting exhibits. We went back and worked for another hour, then headed back to the port, stopping at a gas station for some frozen burritos that would be our dinner later.

At the port, the ship was ready to unload, we were ready to collect the data we needed, and things got moving. Our software did a good job of recording the data we need, and it was oddly peaceful to collect, despite the ordered chaos happening outside. By 10pm we were done, so we went back to the hotel, and I worked a little longer before going to bed.

The next morning was another early one, and we were back at the port collecting data by 8:30. This time I was in a van closer to the ship and cranes, and though repetitive, it was still fun to tap the buttons, make the occasional audio note, and eat peanut butter M&Ms. By noon we were done for the day, so we packed everything up, sucked the data off the server, and went back to the airport. We were back in Pasco by 4:00, and I drove directly to work for a couple more hours of progress. It was a 60 hour week for me, and I was very busy and very productive, but I did get to spend a little bit of time playing.

Tacoma is a baby big city. Cute, but not very substantive. Of course, Seattle is right next to it, so it looks a lot smaller because of its neighbor. It rained the entire time we were there, but it didn’t bug me. I was mostly just happy to be out and watch the data collection at the port and watch our software handle it all so well.

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