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Today In Tucson

November 8th, 2007

I’m writing from the floor of the American Public Television Fall Marketplace in Tucson. APT is one of several public television program suppliers, and once a year they invite programmers and producers to meet and view the latest offerings. In comparison to the big PBS meeting, APT tends to have a bit less star power; most of the celebrities have been second-tier TV chefs and the like. Still, that means that the food is especially good!

I’ve never been to Arizona before outside of a drive-by on my way to the West Coast, and I have to admit that I’m digging it. It’s not someplace I’d want to live, but I like Southwestern architecture, and the giant Saguaro cacti are really cool. Haven’t seen any of the local wildlife outside of a lone road runner, but considering the prevalence of snakes, spiders and scorpions, maybe that’s just as well.

In addition to program screenings, there are a lot of dinners and receptions, and–because it’s being held in a resort hotel–other extracurricular entertainment opportunities. I took a little time today to go horseback riding. And yes, that’s the first time in my life I’ve had call to type the preceding sentence. I’ve never been at all outdoorsy, but I had such a good time with the horses during last month’s Lincoln shoot that I wanted to try it again. The fact that I’d be doing so among the desert terrain was a bonus.

Tonight I stopped by the Bob Ross painting booth for an impromptu lesson. I’d done a couple of paintings at past conferences, but I’d never been that pleased with the results. This time, however, my mountains were perky and my “happy little tree” turned out pretty darned happy. I don’t have a scan for you right now, but I’m told that they’re going to mail my masterpiece to me once it dries out.

I’ll be heading home Saturday. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with my air travel than I did on the way out. My plane left some 40 minutes late from Champaign, then as it was about to land in Chicago–literally a few hundred feet from the runway–it abruptly lifted off again and did a big loop around. Not sure if there was something else on the runway or whether the crosswinds were just too strong, but by the time I landed, I had less than 15 minutes before my connecting flight took off. And, of course, it was on time. And, of course, it was at the very end of a completely different terminal.

Suddenly, I was in The Amazing Race, tearing like hell through O’Hare Airport. As you might imagine, I am terribly out of shape, and it wasn’t long before I had to stop running and settle for a fast walk punctuated by much gasping for air. I stumbled up to the gate, wheezing, and…I was just in time. They closed the jetway door just after me. Took me half an hour to stop coughing, plus I wound up in the one seat on the entire plane with a crying baby behind (I have never wanted to punch a baby as much as I did at that moment), but at least I made the damned plane. I hate air travel, and connecting through O’Hare is one of the main reasons why.

For now, though, I’m having a good time here in Tucson. I’ll be back with my regular randomness soon.

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