Oh, a little thing at the hotel. The key reader was a little dodgy reading my card when I checked in, but it got it the second or third time around so I figured, eh, it's just computers, not something reliable. The second day the card wouldn't read at all, so I went to the desk and told them. They didn't know why there should be a problem, but reassigned my key on the assumption that the card had expired or something. And that worked, although again it took a couple tries before it went. The third day the card wasn't working at all, and the desk agreed that didn't make any sense. The card was set to work for my whole stay, so, what might the problem be?
Turns out the batteries in the lock were dying, and so they were losing the power to read cards at all, never mind unlock. So they sent someone up to crack open the case --- it popped open, albeit with a screwdriver serving as crowbar --- and replace the battery. I watched because, hey, what's not interesting about replacing the battery in a hotel door lock? That sounds like a joke but if you're my friend, truly my friend, you agree that's the sort of thing you'd like to see. It looked like it was just a couple AA batteries. This does seem to suggest the keys work all right in the event of a power outage, too, at least as long as the batteries aren't independently dying.
Also a bit of event debris: there's a place called Holiday World or the like, near Great Adventure and the Book Garden. It's somewhere bunny_hugger always notices when we're nearby and that we never ventured into. I figured, why not take a little while and see what it's like? I suppose any shop like this would be anticlimactic after visiting Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, unfortunately. It was pretty well-stocked, but it was only the size of your average normal-type shop, and it didn't have enough room to stock a truly mad selection of Christmas themes or minor holiday gadgets or the like. It's a nice spot, but not somewhere we're likely to find a Christmas ornament of mind-catching fancy. Or even one that's so distinctly Central New Jersey as to be compelling. I'm sorry for that sad report.
As for Monday and the last couple days at work --- well, I had understood Monday was to include the holiday party. I'd got it wrong. There was a provided lunch, though, from one of the vendors that the company works with. I have no idea why they brought lunch. It was a bunch of deli-counter sandwiches and salads and cookies and all that, dangerous stuff even if I hadn't been gradually gaining weight all month. It also slowed me down reading, since lunch hour is a great time to do that, but I suppose a big point of my being in the office is being seen so better that, right?
So it happened that I got to talk with one of the people from the former Atlantic City office where she, not I, brought up ``this amusement park in northeastern Pennsylvania'' that turned out to be Knoebels. She hadn't been there but had thoughts of going there and I enthusiastically approved, and described some of what made the park great. The Flying Turns roller coaster, which they spent nearly a decade building, was a centerpiece because it gets at so much of the park's ethos. She said it did sound great but that she was shy about roller coasters. I did say, of course, she shouldn't ride something she's not comfortable with. But she might want to consider it, since the ride is neither very fast nor tall, and you do ride it in a bobsled-like car, so that it might be less worrisome a ride. And so that's how we bonded over an amusement park.
I also got to ask one of the folks I knew from when I was a regular old office worker about ... well, the parking lot had always been packed. It was a place we had to park three or even four deep, and manage some complex negotiation if you had to leave before the close of business. Not this time. Two deep, yes, and on one day I got locked in because someone had parked his car just far enough from the cleaning service's van that there wasn't a path out. But the lot was never more than half full, and that seemed odd. Yes, people had left or been fired in some spectacular scene or gone to mostly telecommuting, and some people were on vacation, but then there were the people from the Atlantic City office moved in and ... what's going on here? ``Yes, there used to be more people here,'' was the fullest answer I could get. It's an answer which says a lot in what's not said.
Trivia: Reuters's first report of the death of Josef Stalin was a repeat of New York City radio stations' reports. While they had radio listeners paying attention to Eastern European broadcasts none happened to be on the Soviet stations when the death was first announced. The editorial report for the month counted it as ``our worst defeat for many years''. Source: The Power of News: The History of Reuters, Donald Read.
Currently Reading: Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection In Medieval Paris, Eric Jager.
PS: How To Use Roman Numerals (A Not Quite Useful Guide) and mostly just pointing to something else you could read, by Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope.