Sunday, December 31, 2006

All Wings Report In

This'll be a fun experiment... if you're still reading this blog after 92 entries, make a comment (I've made it so that you don't need to log in to comment). That'll keep me abreast of the current readership, and stoke my ego all at the same time. Praise is welcome, please send criticism to

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Cool Thing I CAN Show You

And again, something that happened about three weeks ago and I'm only getting around to publishing now. I woke up early in the Colombian morning one morning and it was snowing outside. This is what I saw from my stylishly-louvered window. Kinda like a Christmas card, except real.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Spent the night in Casper, Wyoming, and so I have hit the halfway mark. Actually, I spent the night there about two weeks ago, and am only now telling you about it because I am lazy and disorganized. Nice place. Flat, brown, and cold. But then, I imagine the whole Manifest Destiny Tour looks the same during the winter.
What excites me is that when I go to Kansas City, I'll knock out two states in a row, because it's exactly on the border. Now that's lazy.

Carbonated Racial Profiling

I have discovered that certain kinds of people go for certain kinds of beverages, and at the risk of being labeled politically incorrect, I will now enlighten you:
I thought diet drinks would be favored by larger folk who wanted to, well, diet. Sometimes this holds, though most of the time, these folk understand that opting for the diet version of something that's one hundred percent sugar is just silly. Hemlock light, please, I'm watching my vitality. But it's the yuppie people that go for diet stuff, and kids, and sometimes yuppie kids. People whose metabolisms are already skimming along right where they oughtta be. But before I denounce that as ridiculous, I will first concede that it's working. Maintenance, rather than a cure. We move on.
Foreign types dig orange juice. Lots of times, if their English is a quart low and I don't understand what they said, I'll just make an orange juice and they join me in a smile-and-nod.
My precious few black folk out here like ginger ale. And since it's Canada Dry brand, all the Canadians do too. I'm not even sure what ginger ale is. What the hell is that?
If you want Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper, you're from the South.
If you want lime, you're from California.
And a thing I've noticed that's less a preference and more of a trait: if there is an old married couple and the man is on the aisle, and they both order the same thing, and I serve the man first, he will invariably pass the drink to the woman. They don't make 'em like they used to, I guess.

How To Keep Your Feet Warm At 30,000 Feet

The air vents in the planes we fly are in the front, and down at the floor. That translates into one thing: cold flight attendant feet. I was shown the way around that by a clever girl. Ordinarily, when you're cleaning up the galley, you pour all the liquids into a doubled plastic bag, tie it off, and throw it away, so that it doesn't leak all over the place. Well, this girl poured the extra coffee into a bag, took her shoes off, and blammo, caffeinated foot-warmer. She prodded me to try it and I said I would do no such thing and how dare you even suggest such a preposterous action.
Later, when she wasn't looking, I gave it a shot. Who knew?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Plane-Mas!

This was the first Christmas I was away from my family. Even made it back home from the Army the year I was active. Depressing. You don't really realize what family is until it's way over there. Hug yours if they're right there.
Was on a plane all day to celebrate my capitalist gift-giving day. Woke up in Eugene, Oregon, to discover that Santa does not hit hotels. Bounced around between Portland and San Fran all day, and then settled in Medford, Oregon for the night. Planes were full, and not empty, like you'd think, like you'd expect. But nary a difficult passenger. You know, it was a unique way to spend the holiday... not the old sit-in-front-of-the-ball-game-and-try-to-resist-tryptophan-poisoning-because-all-your-out-of-town-friends-will-only-be-there-for-two-more-days thing. One more thing I guess I get to say I've done. St. Peter says to me, "You ever spend Christmas in a 17x50 foot flying sewer pipe?" "Yes, sir, I have," I say back. "Fantastic," he says, "come on in."
So merry Christmas to all, then.


Lived through my first aborted takeoff today. Not that big a deal. The only thing different was that there was a lot of slowing down in place of the blasting-into-the-air that usually happens at the end of a takeoff. We just looped around and tried it again. The passengers hardly noticed.
What a gyp.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

OK, You Knew This Entry Was Coming

This time we're gonna talk about the kinds of passengers not to be.

The Hum-Bruh: if I'm standing in front of you dressed like a flight attendant, on a plane, with a drink cart and a drink in each hand, what do you think I just asked you? This guy never fails to pull his iPod out of his ears and give me the 'I'm sorry, what?' with his eyebrows. A variant is the Double Hum-Bruh, who immediately re-iPods and then does the whole thing again when I ask what snack he wants. Stack a bunch of these in two rows and you get a beverage service that lasts way longer than it should.
The Indecibel: contributing to the aformentioned way-longedness, this guy just makes his lips flap around in the shape of words, rather than actually saying what kind of drink he wants. Most often he'll do it three times in a row, before howling what he wasn't saying out loud before, like it was your fault you didn't hear what he didn't say.
The Game Show Contestant: it's a drink. That's all it is. You already know what drink you gravitate towards. So why, then, should you have to look skyward and stroke your beard in thought to decide what you want, like this guy does? A variant of this one is the Inspector, who will peer into the drink cart while making the all-important decision, and a further subclass is the Out Of Turn Inspector, who will peer into the cart while someone else is making the decision, which is just creepy.
The Delusional Self-Important Guy: sometimes you start the service in the back of the cabin, and this passenger will blithely and non-directionally shout, "I'll have a gin and tonic!" on your way past, when it is clear you are on your way somewhere, are not currently serving, and have not served anyone previously. Note: this is the way to get ignored.
The Emissary of Arcane Sign Language: this waste of time will curl his fingers into an unreadable gesture and display it as if it means 'Coke' or 'Sprite.' All it means is that I can't read your mind.
The How The F Should I Know Guy: at the beginning of every service, you make an announcement that covers what drinks and snacks you're going to be hurling at folk. Inevitably, people will not listen, and you'll have to go through the litany again. Not a problem... as much a waste of time as Hum-Bruhs are, I gotta admit that I've never been vigilant for an entire plane ride. But this guy isn't just not paying attention... he's not paying attention and insulted that you would think he would know what the snack choices are. He's perfected the shaking head thrust, shoulder shrug, and empty hand gesture that clearly says, 'well how the F should I know what snacks you have?' This guy can also be found under J, for Jackhole.

To be continued...

If A Dog @#%& On A Plane, Does It Make A Sound?

You know that there are planes, and you know that dogs sometimes go on these planes. But I'll bet you never thought about what happens when a dog decides to go on a plane. All of a sudden, several passengers hit the call button at once, and when I went back to see what in tarnation the deal was, I was assaulted by a thermonuclear wave of dog crap smell. I had discovered the source of their mutual consternation. What they wanted me to do about it, I had no idea. The lady whose dog it was quickly carted carrier, dog, and poo to the lavatory to engage in hazmat cleanup, and I grabbed some of the deodorizer spray they keep in the galley. MAN that stuff works. I guess it would have to, being that we have to use the same air for hours on end.
All's well that ends well, I guess.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Denver Under Siege

Denver, as I'm sure you've heard, got a little snow. That means you, the civilian, say, "Wow," and go about your day. I, as a flight attendant, say "Aw, man," because I'm gonna sit on a plane with impatient passengers way longer that I'm supposed to have to.
But if you're a ramper (the guys who work out on the ramp [which is what they call the driveway where the planes go {a confusing name, because the ramp is not on an incline at all}]), you try very hard not to quit your job and move to Tijuana. Here's why:
That is a lot of snow. There's kind of a friendly rivalry going on betwixt the flight attendants and the rampers, as there always will be between people who wear ties in air conditioned comfort and people who lift heavy stuff wearing weather gear. But today I bow down to the rampers, who are the ones doing the work. If you took a plane somewhere this week and made it at all, it was because of them.


Did you know that, when angered, ducks will try to pull each other's heads off? Neither did I.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Little Pilot In You

I'd heard this guy was out there in the fleet, but it wasn't till four days ago that I finally got to fly with Captain Morgan. Not the big black-haired pirate guy who puts his foot on stuff... this guy's an unassuming Mormon whose last name just happens to be Morgan. But try saying that to a bunch of passengers:

ME: Your flight crew tonight is Captain Morgan and First Offic-
PASSENGERS (putting feet on stuff): ARRRR!

Over the course of the four day trip, I discovered that the passengers going haywire at the mention of this guy's name was dependent on just how straight-faced my delivery was. If I said 'Captain Morgan' as if I were saying 'Mister Rogers,' no big deal. Maybe one guy would look up. But if I cracked, if I even showed one whit of fear, ARRRR! And feet on stuff.
A funny side note: on the last day of this trip, Morgan came down with a cold and took himself off the trip. And since he was training the co-pilot, the co-pilot went with him. So they threw in a new crew on me, with completely new names. Got their first names when I met them, because we were rushed. That I hadn't gotten their last names only hit me later, when I was already pounding through the 'your flight crew tonight is' announcement. So I just introduced Captain Solo and First Officer Bacca. Oddly enough, no one even noticed.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Friday, December 15, 2006

How To Use Snow

Snow can be used in a variety of different ways. The first thing to understand about snow is that it is cold. Snow does not look cold on TV, but it is, in fact, freezing. Do not apply directly to eyeballs.
Utah snow is different from other snows in that it is powdery. This makes skiing fun, apparently, but does not lend itself to snowman-making in the traditional 'three-ball' sense.

Do not eat yellow snow. Also, do not eat white snow, because as has been stated previously, it is COLD.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Things Are Upside-Down Here

Today I had to deadhead back into Salt Lake, and so I sat in the back with one of the pilots. As we approached the Wasatch Mountains, I saw this fog stuff over the city:

Made a joke about 'hey look, we're a big enough city to have our own smog!' and he said it was something called the inversion layer. Some kind of meteorological phenomenon. The mountains trap air at their base because of the heat rising, and it ends up on the wrong side... inverted, I guess you could say. Not technically smog, he said, because it's a weather thing, but it amounts to the same thing. Old people should not go out, and I shouldn't drive my car. I hate that. There's only one reason I drive my car, and that's to look at outdoor old people.
This same pilot was saying that some guy did a study of the locations of all the natural disasters that befall the U.S., and the only place where you're perfectly safe from everything is a fifty square-mile area in southeast Utah. Joseph Smith was RIGHT!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I am official in all the ways now.

This says I can drive and drink. Not that it's all that big of a whoop to drink out here... The Society for Personal Rights Curtailment On Behalf Of Religious Superstition has decreed that there be a lower alcohol content in Utah, and so there's a pink stamp on all the booze you get here to prove it (I'll have to show you all that in a later entry). So now it takes three beers instead of two. Also of note in this picture is that under height, that's actually an 8. Really.

This says I don't go to jail when I am driving. Unless I'm drinking. Note the Wile E. Coyote design on the plate. I knew there was a reason I liked living here. That's a cartoon representation of an actual arch at a place south of here called Moab. That's a future quest/blog entry as well. Wish I could show you what my license plate spells, because it's also pretty funny, but I know all of you are itching to steal my identity and masquerade as me, so your plans are THWARTED DO YOU HEAR ME THWARTED!
I have also recieved my official FAA Flight Attendant Certificate. That's a little credit card-looking thing that they tell you the FAA only gives to you so they can take it away from you when you do something stupid. But it's actually pretty nifty... it's got a lot of whereas and hereto on it, and a picture of that first plane at Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers. For all the little dumb things about this job, there are things that remind you that you're part of a long history of putting things in the air that don't belong there.

Lunch At Warp Nine

Today we went back during universal operating hours and breached the eating quarters of the spaceship. It doesn't glow during the day, but it's still pretty neat. If you look hard enough, you can find some chipped spots, so it's kinda like an old amusement park in need of a revamp. But I'll overlook that, because hey... view.

It's a good thing the inside is cool, because the service wasn't all that great. Maybe they do it like this on the moon, but 'drive-by' is the best way to describe our waiter's contact with us. Or maybe it was because we were in LA.

The food was excellent. That round thing is sesame-seed salmon. Don't know where they found a round fish. And yes, that's a pyramid made out of rice. Neat. Kinda went with the whole 'sixties new age' theme. That green stuff... dunno. Organic, I'm sure. I'm from the South... no idea what it was.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Shutdown At The Spaceship

So there is a spaceship parked outside of LAX, as seen here:

Because it looks like a spaceship, it became a quest, of course. "Gonna go to the spaceship next time I'm in Los Angeles," I told everyone. I thought that I was just calling it a funny name and that when I got there, I would find out that it was actually called Francois' on the Airport or something just as pretentious.

Nope. It really is a spaceship.

The elevator plays kooky sixties sci-fi music on the way up. The digital readout also reads 'K' on the first floor and something that's not even a letter on the restaurant level. Inside it's got an impressive view and looks like what they thought the future would look like forty years ago. That's as cool as it got though, because it was Sunday and they closed five minutes before we got there. Crap.
We'll try to catch it tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Today I added the 24th state... New Mexico. If you're a history teacher, this has to be driving you nuts, because I'm pretty sure New Mexico was not the 24th state. Anyway, Albuquerque is where we stayed the night, and that's hard to spell. It's also hard to find a place to eat with two finicky pilots. We walked up and down the college strip for an hour and a half before settling on the Applebee's that we had actually picked out first. Now, if you're a Bugs Bunny fan, there is an important point here; I actually took that fabled left turn at Albuquerque, and can conclusively state that it leads to Applebee's. So that's like eight cartoons that would have been cut short, and for no reason... there are no carrots at Applebee's.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Cool Thing I Can't At All Show You

Now that it's snowing in Utah, it's also snowing in parts north of Utah. Idaho is a part north of Utah. And since Boise is in Idaho, and that's where I flew tonight, it follows that we flew over some snow. And it was a full moon out tonight, which made things below look like a rumpled blue-white carpet that stretched as far as I could see (pressed like an idiot up against that galley service door window). That may not sound like much in words, but if you ever get the chance to put plane, snow, and full moon together, I recommend it. It is an awesome sight.
But it totally thwarts all attempts at capturing it photographically. I could have posted the ten or so shots I took, but you've all seen black squares before. Oh, lament.