"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" is the least stupid and most pompous of the series so far. "Least stupid" because the world was pretty much in place at the beginning of this one, so there was no more bad world-building, and no more unexplainable new technology. More of the movie was devoted to political posturing, hence the significantly increased pomposity. I don't hate these movies; I actually kind of enjoy them. I just don't understand why they are so popular.
So... Texas and Ingress in December. As usual, I had a week of "just in case" vacation left over, and I decided that I wanted to run away from winter. The idea of playing Ingress without freezing really appealed to me, and Six Flags Over Texas is FULL of Ingress portals, and I had been thinking about buying a season pass to Six Flags anyway...
On Tuesday, 12/2, I finally got the van back after nearly three weeks of various repairs, packed, and headed south. I had dinner with my father, visited brother Pete and family, and ended up in Pontiac, Illinois. I noticed a wet spot under the car as I pulled out of Pete's driveway, and checked more thoroughly once I got to Pontiac. The van was definitely bleeding coolant; I threw in three quarts in the morning, and continued (carefully) to Springfield, Missouri. It turned out that the bleed was a manageable pint every 100 miles, so I didn't abort the trip.
In Springfield, I spent some time with Kenosha refugee Bryan G., and met his very charming lady Jenn. The next day I continued on to Dallas (or more properly Grand Prairie, even though the hotel said, "Arlington" on the sign). Navigating to a destination in the dark, in the rain, through construction zones, ALONE is just not any fun AT ALL.
On Friday I made an Ingress attack on the Grand Prairie Veteran's Memorial and the associated library, then in the evening I attempted to do the same at Six Flags. I wasn't prepared for the metal detector, and the ensuing run-in with security, which ruined my mood. ("No, I don't want to check the irreplaceable pocket knife that I have been carrying for forty years. I want to go back to my car and wish for global thermonuclear war.") I wandered around a bit, flirted with a clerk at Radio Shack, and went back to the hotel to sleep off my sulk.
On Saturday I went to Sundance Square in Fort Worth for an actual Ingress event, had a good time, and came away with a bunch of experience and a small pile of Ingress swag. I rested while my gadgets recharged, did my best to prepare my clothing for the metal detectors, and when back to Six Flags. It was twenty degrees colder than it had been the night before, but still fun. On Sunday I went back to Fort Worth, just because it was a good place to play, and in the evening it rained just enough to make a steak dinner more appealing than more gaming.
I spent Monday night in Lebanon, Missouri, which is within 5 miles of exactly between my house that the Texas hotel. On Wednesday morning, I put the van back into the shop, and they warrantied the radiator. All told, a pretty good trip.