a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Assorted Notes from Nationals

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Assorted Notes from Nationals

SUMMARY: Random bits

  • The temperature reached roughly the mid-80s each day. In the shade, I could handle being in my jeans, but since agility requires being out in the open (go figure) on most occasions, I ended up wearing my shorts for about 4 or 5 hours daily.

  • I finally figured out why Tika popped out of the weaves in the Grand Prix quarterfinals--I forgot to switch out of my hanging-around shoes into my running shoes! Drat!

  • The food vendor never turned on their cotton candy machine, which I'd been looking forward to, damn their eyes. But their mango/strawberry/peach/banana smoothies (with whipped cream) were tasty and refreshing.

  • During the day, we had to endure periodic loudspeaker commercials for the vendors selling in the vendor areas. Loud enough that they were hard to talk over. But you couldn't always hear what they were announcing when it was important USDAA competition info.

  • The Mystery of the Migrating Rings: The map showed the rings neatly numbered in a clockwise direction. However, on Thursday, rings 4 and 6 had changed places. On Saturday, rings 2 and 3 had changed places, but 4 and 6 were reverted. Something else was odd on Friday. If you thought it was hard remembering courses for 9 hours after your walkthrough, then just try finding your ring! (Probably to prevent adjacent rings from doing buzzer-sounding events at the same time. But not always.)

  • In prior years, walk-throughs started--and mostly completed-- before sunrise. This year, the earliest were at 7:00, with the sun just above the horizon. So we missed most of the sunrises, and had the sun in our eyes as we walked the course, but it was nice to get the extra sleep in the morning.

  • The usual overpriced awards dinner on Wednesday night was even more overpriced this year. Instead of having a room full of tables where you could sit your tired bod and chat easily with your friends there and at nearby tables, they had half a dozen tables on one side of the ballroom, another half a dozen at the other end, a row of chairs along one wall, and all the rest of the seating out on the patio, divided between two levels and one level split by the bar. Instead of having one buffet line with an assortment of salads, vegetables, and meats, they had four separate lines for different kinds of foods, all of them with meat, so you had to stand in line four times and weren't always sure what you were standing in line for. Someone said that this setup was supposed to encourage mingling. What it encouraged was spending most of your time in line trying to get food, and the rest of the time wondering whether you were missing anything because everyone else was spread out, out of your sight. When the costume parade and the awards presentations occurred inside, half the people had to stand because there was no room for them. A large contingent of folks didn't bother coming in from the patio. And then there was no dessert. I don't know whose idea this was, but it, frankly, sucked.

We all received various compliments on our lovely Borderin' on K-Aus team shirts.
Unlike two or three years ago, food onsite was limited, not very good, and extremely expensive. Here's my $8.50 lunch. OK, the corn dog was tasty, cooked just right, and hot. But $8.50?
As our team sinks slowly in the west, the Arizona desert serves up one last sunset above the nearly abandoned crating tents.


  1. What's up with the terrible food vendors? It was awful last year too, I never bought any food from any of them. I was happy I had the RV so I could make my own food.

    That awards banquet sounds terrible and no dessert???!!! What is the point of bland catered banquet food if they're not going to at least give you some nice sugary treat? USDAA is soooo cheeep.

  2. Oh and aside from the second day when they announced the one ring change I didn't even notice the rings moving around that's how senile I'm going. I did have a general sense that something wasn't right but I put it down to my own poor memory.

    After 8 a.m. it was definitely shorts weather but I can't run properly in jeans anyway even when it's cold. I see loads of people doing it though so it must be possible.

  3. It's the first year that I've been completely disappointed in the banquet. Last year I thought that the food was actually good and had second helpings of the veggies AND of the dessert (you know that one serving of veggies cancels out one serving of dessert).

    The problem with shorts is that my pasty, colorless legs then have to scuttle from darkness to darkness like some pale cave-dwelling arthropodoid. And/or I have to smear goopy sun lotion all over them, and then they accrue every passing mote of dust and crud and by the end of the day they're so disgusting that I don't even want to get in the same car with them. Yuck yuck yuck. Jeans are much better.