May You Live in Interesting Times, Part 1

A great day for flying up to Portland—all too often, there's too much cloud cover for this view.

I expected this would be an interesting NAC—in every sense of that adjective!—and I was not disappointed in that expectation.

Even if there had been nothing else going on, I would have been disoriented for this NAC, just because I’m so used to needing to get up at 2:30 or 3:00 am to get to the airport in time for an early morning flight with at least one layover to get me to the venue early enough for setup. I always use the lack of real sleep and the time zone change to put myself into Tournament Time—that weird actual-time-doesn’t-matter state necessary for running national events. A lunch-time flight in my home time zone with no layover just doesn’t seem like a real fencing trip.

My daughter got the real fencing travel this time—she had a layover at O’Hare, and the hour her plane sat sitting through two gate changes before it could unload made her miss her connection. But she was first on the standby list for the next flight, so even with the delay, she still made it to Portland in plenty of time for dinner.

Setup for me was relatively painless—all the scoring boxes were set up in plenty of time to get the strip numbers up on Thursday, and everything—bulletin boards, copier, all our supplies—were in place fairly early on.

The process was a bit more involved on the computer side, because this was a momentous NAC for us: since the contract with Dan was signed last summer, FencingTime had met all the intermediate tests, so Portland would be the first national tournament where we would be running FencingTime. While we had XSeed available to open up as a backup if it turned out to be necessary, we would not be using it to shadow FencingTime in real time.

So the little netbooks we use for check-in had to have the new software installed, as did the tournament laptops, and Joe had to make sure the server was configured and the network set up properly. And, as always, Carla and Tanya had to find and correct problems with the event seeding, especially in the Division I events, with their more complicated seeding rules. All in all, though, considering the amount of work we had to do, our 7:00 pm setup finish time was pretty good, and we were as ready as we could expect to be for dealing with whatever glitches and bugs and workflow changes we’d face in the morning.

Of course, that morning would come awfully early—because of the new check-in process with FencingTime, we—Tanya, me, Joe, and the rest of the morning computer staff, would need to be at the venue by 6:50 am. So we arranged to meet for breakfast at 6:00, so we could catch the train early enough to be at the convention center in time.


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