Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Denver Circus

I've been to the Denver airport several times by now. Found a bunch of stuff. There's a burrito place called Que Bueno that has burritos as big as a human head. Also a place (of which I cannot think of the name) run by an Emeril-type chef that has the best breakfast ever. A story I'll tell you about this place is that, once, the fire alarm went off, and it was one of those that only the fire brigade can turn off, and so for the entire breakfast, there was this earsplitting electric shriek from the kitchen. Of course, the pilots both had earplugs, and earplugged up right when it happened, so it was just me that went deaf. But what I really want to tell you about the Denver airport is that the whole thing is one big tent.

No really. The main part of the building has no roof. This big architecturally-designed tarp is pitched over the space where the roof would be. Really crazy. You should see it from the inside.
Continuing in the Barnum & Bailey vein, the tram that goes between concourses also plays this slightly spooky circus music. So really, all Denver is missing is the clowns.
Oh wait... we work there.

Waxing Brazilian

My last entry, "Damn It," seems to have achieved critical success. People are writing in from all corners of the Earth to tell me what a good job I did, including Rodrigo the Brazilian, who said this:

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Now for those of you who don't speak German, I will now translate in my imitable style:

"Oy! Your blog hurts, but your pal Google says it's the most interesting thing out there, especially the post about ghosts. When your pal visits my blog Personalized Camisoles, he'll eventually see that his girlfriend Uma can get great personalized camisoles.
I just ate corn."

Rodrigo, apparently, grew up in a Jewish section of Brazil. And also, since none of my posts contain any references to ghosts, I think he might be insane. What else can you expect from a guy who thinks Google is dating a German girl?
In keeping with my anti-spam stance, I removed the links to Personalized Camisoles. But if you really want to go, read the original response under "Damn It." I checked it out. Didn't get anything. I'm not a camisole type of guy.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Damn It

I left my belt in San Francisco. Well, at least it wasn't that other thing.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Restless Natives In San Fran

You already know I went to San Francisco two weeks ago. But did you know I actually have family there? I barely knew that... I had met the great aunt that lives there only once, when I was about a foot long. My mother, knowing that I would be back in S.F., contrived to put me in touch with the lady I had been taught to call Aunt Franny for so long that I actually though she was my actual aunt. Here's what happened.
First, when she came to pick me up, we played what I like to call the 'hotel shuffle.' That's where they ask you, "Cool, what hotel you at?" and you say "Hyatt Regency!" and they're like, "Cool, be there in ten!" and an hour later you start to think something might be amiss, and when you ask the doorman if there's another Hyatt Regency in town, he says, "Oh, yeah. Like six of 'em." So four hours and a tank of gas later, I finally met Aunt Franny and her husband Enrique.
My mother had prepared me by saying, "You'll love her. She's really short and she's a fireball." Short is accurate; she came up to my collarbone. Later in their low-ceiling San Francisco house, I felt like the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! giant. We immediately tore off on a driving tour of various missions in San Fran. Enrique is a soft-spoken gent who softly speaks only Spanish. I mean, he probably speaks English at a doctorate level, but he only speaks Spanish. So Aunt Franny, who is bi-fluent, translated my various oohs and aahs as we drove past several ornately carved buildings.
We stopped at their house for spaghetti. The road they live on carves up the hill at no less than a 50 degree angle; I actually felt as if my life was in danger just standing on it. The house itself is slanted, so that on the hill, it stands up straight. Inside are thousands of pictures painted by my late Uncle (or great uncle) Johnny, who I never had the fortune to meet. They cracked open a bottle of Merlot, and two glasses in, I was speaking Spanish pretty well. I met Enrique Jr., (who they call Enrique The Younger), who is cool enough to be slang-fluent in both languages; later, Enrique's daughter and granddaughter showed up. At this point I was almost totally soused, but I'm certain that grandaughter Maria went by at least three names, one of which sounded like Bob.
Aunt Franny took me out onto their deck to show me the view. You can't imagine this... all the things I saw in S.F. two weeks ago are laid out in grand fashion in the valley beyond their house, ending at the Bay Bridge and the horizon several miles away. She apologized for the trees being in the way, but I was still amazed, because in Louisiana, the view is the house across the street.
After another glass of wine and several impromptu Spanish lessons, we took off on another driving tour. Twin Peaks, appropriately enough, are two hills at the highest point in San Fran. It was a clear night on our way up the winding road, and so naturally when we got to the top, the fog was so thick that Enrique got a picture of me standing on it.
Next was Coit Tower, a big spire on top of yet another high vantage point in S.F. Seems this city is comprised of only high places. The tower itself was closed, but by then the fog had gone wherever fog eventually goes, and so the view was spectacular. One million lunchbox houses, cut by streets and bedecked by sodium lights, extending out as far as you can see. Made me dizzy.
My grandfather (my mother's father and Aunt Franny's brother, whom we sadly lost last year) had a Bill Cosby 'record' (it's a vinyl disc with grooves that makes sound somehow) where he sketches out the violent flaming death you can expect to recieve at the hands of Lombard Street. Well, Aunt Franny drove this thing like a pro, and promised not to tell anyone I screamed like a little girl.
Last was the Golden Gate bridge. When I had visited before, crossing the bridge had been on the list, but I ran out of time. This time we made it all the way across and back. I left my camera in the hotel room, of course I did, but it looks exactly like the postcards, only bigger. Way bigger. If you wanna see the future, look right at that thing, because something that big shouldn't be possible yet.
They dropped me off at the hotel at midnight, Enrique snoozing in the back seat and Aunt Franny still going like the Energizer Bunny. S.F. is an infinitely cool town, and I have infinitely cool family in it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Itch Face

In training, they tell you that you're not supposed to touch your face during a beverage service for sanitary reasons. Well, I'm telling you that when you face knows you can't scratch it for at least 15 minutes, all it does is itch. One of the great ironies of life, up there with the fact that you sink when you're alive but float when you're dead.
I combat this phenomenon but ducking being the cart just before the service and furiously sanding my face for 30 seconds in an effort to use the commutative property* against any future itches. Doesn't work. Just makes me look like a rabbit.

*This must have been from the day I stayed awake in Algebra.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

They Sure Do Have It All In This Plane

You know how sometimes you say things by rote and never think about what they mean? Well, one such thing is the cabin pressurization part of the predeparture speech. "The cabin is pressurized for your comfort and safety." Now safety I can see, because being able to breathe will contribute to one's safety. But comfort? At no time have I overheard a fellow take a deep breath and say to his wife, "You know, that sure was comfortable." Or heard her reply, "I know. Can you imagine how miserable it would be in here without enough oxygen to keep us conscious?"
Now that I think about it, flopping around like a goldfish on the floor of an airplane would be pretty uncomfortable. So maybe it is for your comfort.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Once Again And I Think It's A Sin

Sometimes, right after takeoff, there is a strange sound on the plane that comes from right under where I sit. This sound vibrates the entire galley, enough to make my vision blur, and you spell this sound like this:


Finally mentioned it to a pilot the other day, and he explained that it's the landing gear spinning to a stop inside the plane when they retract it.
Damn those are some big wheels.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Now That's Just Nasty

A fellow FA told me the other day that once a guy on her plane ordered half apple juice, half tomato juice. I don't think I could serve that to someone. Friends don't let friends.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Of Hammers And Toilet Seats

And speaking of coffee, one of the mechanics came on board today to fix a leaky coffee machine, and in the course of fixing/cursing the machine, he mentioned that these particular coffee machines cost five thousand dollars. Five thousand. And there's two of these percolating juggernauts side by side in each galley. That's ten thousand bucks worth of coffee. You could almost buy your own ship for that.

A Question They Never Understand

I'm not a coffee drinker, and so I refuse to bow to to the conventions of coffee. For example, I've noticed people ask, "How do you take your coffee?" This has always struck me as the most frilly and effeminate Great Gatsby way to ask someone what the hell do you want me to put in your coffee, and so I refuse to do it. I instead ask, "Anything to go in the coffee?" And I'm starting to see the wisdom in the former phraseology because, even though I'm pointing right into the cup of coffee, they still always reply, "Peanuts!" or "Cheese Crackers!" I guess 'how do you take it' is just the way you ask that question. I'm still not doing it, though.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cheese, Minutiae, and The Communist Threat

By now you know that not all cheese is cheese. You can go to a little wooden hut on a cobblestone street somewhere in France and buy yourself a wheel of the good stuff, or you can jam your ride up onto the curb at Albertsons and grab a shrink-wrapped brick of what they call 'American processed cheese food.' Let's look at that slightly sinister phrase a minute. American... sure, made here, check. Processed... naturally. Made here. Cheese... the part that allows you to identify what you're supposed to be eating. Food... debatable, but hey, you are putting it in your mouth. I once heard a comic ask if processed cheese food is what they feed the cheese.
Anyway, the reason for this diatribe is that the other day, in one of those crew meal things, I scored a tiny chunk of Gouda. It was decent enough cheese, and has inspired me to seek out some real Gouda. But the nomenclature on the wrapper added another ridiculous layer of removals:
Gouda-type flavor? Is this to say that, when the lever was pulled on the assembly line, what came pouring out of the industrial vat into this incomplete APCF was not Gouda, not even the flavor of Gouda, but a flavor designed to taste like something that tastes like Gouda? The only reason I can see to manufacture something like this instead of just putting out bits of actual Gouda cheese is financial... I'm sure real cheese is expensive (though I'm not sure... I'm American, I've never had any). But how expensive do you think it was to hire a crack team of flavor-scientists to dissect Gouda and come up with a cheap-to-manufacture hallucinogen that presents plausible deniability? I envision (because I'm a dork) a Cold War project out in the Arizona desert where scientists in lab coats work tirelessly to create a chemical that approximates cheese, and then gray men in fedoras and thin ties are called in to make these scientists disappear while samples of their chemical are shipped to Poland where more scientists are subcontracted to mix a chemical that approximates the first chemical, the result of which is legions of flight attendants eating their cheese in a state of dim complacency, many grimacing but few noticing that it's not quite not quite Gouda. Well, wake up, people! Open your eyes! The Red Menace is closer than you think! Watch the skies! You're next!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


cel·er·ous /'s&-ler-&s, 'sel-er-&s/ (adjective)
1 a: expressing characteristics of the European herb
Apium graveolens b: exhibiting a thin concave shape and leafstalks relatively flavorless when eaten cooked or raw
2: containing less calories than required to be consumed
3 a: meriting inclusion in a salad b: displaying a compatibility with peanut butter

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Temple, Because Of Josh

I was talking to my friend Josh today, and he reminded me that in almost one entire year, I hadn't posted a picture of the Mormon Temple, only the very lynchpin of Salt Lake. Here it is, you bastard.

Graphical Representation Of The Spare Cat

Cats are hard to take pictures of. This is a wiggly one, and so I had to snap like 30 shots of it to get anything but a white blur.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Peaceful Soundings For Happy Life

The wind chimes I found in Chinatown now have a new home. My home. Actually, I guess they're really water chimes, since that's what that character is on top there.
On closer inspection, I found a MADE IN CHINA sticker under the middle part. I left it on there. It's kind of appropriate.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Remember that civilian spaceship that was in the news a few years ago for getting into orbit? Well, it's in the Tulsa airport.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Huffer

Today the plane wouldn't start. After not-witty banter between the pilots ("I don't have the keys... you told me you had the keys!"), they radioed operations, and operations called in the Huffer. Now I'm sure this thing has a technical-sounding official name, but 'Huffer' is accurate, because what it actually is is a three ton vaccuum cleaner that they use to suck-start the engine. Doesn't look all that impressive, but man does it work.
Maybe one of those could get the smoke smell out of my apartment.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Adventures in San Francisco

We got into San Fran early enough to make a go of things, and so I goed.
Took a shuttle back to the airport from the hotel, and from there took a train whose name was BART. Not sure if that stands for something or that's just what its parents came up with. To get past the turnstile, you put money into an ATM-like affair, and it spits out a ticket. Different destinations cost different amounts, and so you can change the amount to put on the ticket. The minimum amount was $14.05, more than what it was going to cost me to get to Powell Street (which is where I determined I was going on my big foldy tourist SF map), and so I changed it to the minimum, thinking I didn't want to tie up more funds than I needed on the ticket. And so, as I'm sure you've all realized, in addition to the five dollars in quarters it gave me back, it also gave me 95 cents, the maximum amount of change you can have before it turns into a dollar. Thus, through tremendous lack of foresight, I started a walking trip eight pounds heavier.
BART was a lot like the train in Chicago... it's loud, and it goes both under and above ground. I met a foreign girl who was as lost as I was, and we put our heads together about how to get where she was going. She's probably a cobwebbed skeleton in the corner of a transfer station now.
Missed Powell Street because I was trying to figure out how to fold that damn map, and got off at the next one, Embarcadero.

Hit the sunlight again to sounds of people, birds, and bum saxophones, and realized two things. First was that San Francisco is cold. A cold place in California? Who knew? Second was that I was completely lost. When where you just came from is underground, you can't retrace your steps. That's a feeling both exhilarating and frightening, realizing you are totally hosed in a city you don't belong to. Thought to jump a trolley back to Powell, but decided to hoof it. And I'm glad I did, for two reasons. First, despite the serious hike up the serious hill, I got this shot:

That there is most of the Transamerica Building. Back when I was military, I took a trip to SF and one of my quests then was to touch that building and see what was at the bottom of it. Was rather disappointed to find out that it was an ATM. But I digress. The second reason I'm glad I took that hill is that, had I not, I would never have stumbled into Chinatown.

A thing I quickly discovered about Chinatown is that you can get some pretty wierd crap there. Each store has pretty much the same stuff, but it's all cool stuff. Asian jewelry sits next to tai chi swords sits next to Mandarin dresses sits next to Chinese Kewpie dolls dressed Native American sits next to inedible food product sits next to bootleg American DVDs subtitled in Cantonese sits next to Chairman Mao hats. Canton Bazaar right there had several fertility statues, which is a high society name for large wooden phalluses. I mean large. As tall as me large. You're going to be seriously fertile. Babies for life.
Looked for the Wing Kong Exhange, but no luck. And if any of you gets that, I'll give you a dollar.
Finally got back on track, and found a trolley going my way. At that point, I realized I had no idea what to do with a trolley. Do you need a ticket? Do you just hop on? I saw several locals just grab on, and so I did as they did.

Trolleys are great. They're also man-powered, a thing I didn't realize. There's a loud yahoo on there yanking brakes and stepping on pedals to keep from hitting traffic. After a brief and curvy downhill jaunt (which passed Lombard Street too quickly for me to get a picture), I disembarcated at Fisherman's Wharf.

Here I caved and bought a touristy San Francisco hoodie. Walked around in the incredible smell of steaming seafood (not a lot of that in Salt Lake), then headed for the water. And wouldn't you know... someone went and put a prison right in front of a perfectly good sunset:

Ate some fish and chips, and then started the trek back. Got to watch the guys turn around the trolley. If you haven't seen that on The History Channel, what happens is the tracks loop at the end of the run, and the guys just hop off and push the trolley around the bend so that it's headed back up again. And here we go with the lack of foresight again... it hadn't even occurred to me how a trolley that works by gravity was going to get me back up a hill. Lucky for me, someone last century had already thought of that.
San Francisco is neat. I'm going back.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

From The Sheraton Four Points Subtlety Department

The Future Of Aviation

A lady got on board today with six kids. And since she sat in the first row, we struck up a conversation, during which I found out that she was the wife of one of our newer pilots. She mentioned how gung-ho he'd been in training, but I really had no idea how gung-ho until we began our descent. The four of these kids that were not either asleep or too young to speak began to talk me through the landing.
"Ten thousand feet," Mom prompts.
"Flaps 8, twenty degrees," the kids chant.
"Below two hundred knots," Mom says.
"Flaps twelve," the kids say.
And so on, to my amazement. While she explained to me that her husband had trained so hard for the job that the kids had just picked it up, she said the word 'touchdown.' And one of her little girls said, "We can't do touchdown yet, Mommy. Gear down first."
I had great fun at that point imagining a scenario in which both pilots are incapacitated and I have to make that announcement about is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane, and a kid in a diaper toddles up to the cockpit, saying, "Relax, I got this."

The Flight That Beat Baby Hell

Also set a new record today for babies. Ten infants and three children. I'm surprised I can still hear.

Who, Again, Is Flying This Plane?

The pilot shirt I wear now is a constant source of amusement. People get on board, say hello to me, and then whisper to their travel mates how young pilots are these days. Never mind that I'm actually a decade older than most of the first officers.
Yesterday a guy asked if I was the co-captain. When I said I was the FA, he said he thought you didn't get to wear wings if you were just the flight attendant. In my mind, I kicked him.
But let's get to the funny part. Today a pilot from another airline hitched a ride with us in that third seat in the flight deck. And halfway into the flight, the FO had to take the walk of shame. And because the third seat has to fold up before you can get out of the flight deck, the third pilot had to exit to let the FO out. Now mind you, the passengers hadn't seen the third pilot go in the flight deck because he boarded before they did... all they saw was two pilots exit the flight deck, and me go in for five minutes. So when I came out, the first three rows of passengers looked distinctly uncomfortable. I didn't explain, because sometimes I'm a jerk.
Not everyone was worried, though. An elderly lady, as she deplaned, told me she thought it was sweet for the pilots to let me have a try.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Other Carolina

Forgot to mention this, but a while back I made it to North Carolina, which officially rounds out all the southern states (even though it's North Carolina). My high school friend Trey (he's not old or anything) and his lovely soon-to-be-doctor wife Ashley moved there a few years back, and I spent a couple of days catching up.
North Carolina is green and rumply. The roads either go up or down. There is no flat. People all have decks, and have never heard of a patio. Trey and I went driving in search of something to find, and he related to me the story of how the original Krispy Kreme donut shop had been right there in NC, and even though Krispy Kreme exploded in popularity everywhere else, they failed miserably where they started. So apparently all my high school friends moved to where there are or are not donuts.
Ashley caught up with us at a burger joint by cleverly checking their checking account to see where the last food purchase was (doctoral candidates are known to be clever), and we all three retired to their abode, where their cat and dog were wierd. The dog was wierd because it was a rescue dog and therefore was afraid of me even though it was as big as me, and the cat was wierd because it would routinely sneeze for two minutes straight.
Trey had a speeding ticket to take care of (Trey is known to drive in a celerous manner [that's not an admission of guilt]), and so I got to check out downtown Raleigh. Lots of college bars. There was a massive acorn in the center of a park (I think it was a sculpture, though). Got to talk to a real live lawyer. Saw some more bars whose entrances led underground. Neat place, though there was still no flat.
North Carolina is now done.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Other Funny Things To Call Other Things

Talked to a guy from the Virgin Islands today that called roaches 'mahogany birds.' I'm not exactly sure what that means, but for me it only adds to the ick factor of roaches.

A Funny Thing To Call People

Today I heard a pilot refer to the older 'career' flight attendants as 'aisle dragons.' I think I spit out what I was drinking when he said that.


Found out where that damn locust came from today. When we got out on the ground in Chicago, and there were thousands of smashed-flat locust corpses all over the ramp. Chicago, apparently, is where locusts come from.
Maybe this makes me a horrible person, but I like them better flat.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Spare Cat

There's this cat that hangs out outside the apartment complex. He runs up to me and pets himself with my hand when he sees me. I can't have a cat, because he would be a skeleton by the time I got back from a trip. But this one is kind of mine.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ladies And Gentlemen... DUCKS

Back to Memphis again. Turns out the hotel we stay in is right across from the Famous Peabody Hotel. Know why this hotel is famous? If you said 'ducks,' you'd be right. And you could also probably read.
The story, as it was told to me, is thus: back in the olden days, like before TV even, some rich guy had a hotel built. And after a hunting trip from which he shot no ducks, his crappy hunting buddies put some live ducks in the expensive Italian marble fountain in the lobby to remind him that he shot no ducks. But people loved the ducks. And people who love ducks have money. So this rich bad shot found an ex-circus trainer to train the ducks to stay in the fountain, and eventually to march to it from the elevators. And so began the Peabody Ducks.
Who told me this? It was an emcee with a microphone, and he also told about two hundred gawkers at the same time, standing around in the hotel lobby at 10:56AM along with me:
After the story, he named two local VIPs 'duckmasters,' and had them go up the elevator. And when they came back down at eleven sharp (complete with timpani drum roll), they had five ducks in tow. And these little flappy birds waddled down this red carpet with velvet ropes, to damn John Philip Souza, no less, and plopped into the fountain like they had good sense.

And apparently they stay there every day until five, when they retire back up the elevator.
This is why I love America.

Stripes Of A Different Color

In school we ordered uniforms about a week before we graduated. Unlike any of the other uniform-type jobs I've had, this one has several different mix-and-match pieces... you can wear whatever you want. You get four shirts, and so I ordered two long-sleeve and two short-sleeve ones, to cover winter and summer. So far it's been winter, and you've seen me here in the blue stripe one and the solid blue one. And if I may launch a tangent: a word about the striped one. None of the security people recognize you as an FA in that shirt. I guess they think I look like a businessman with a thing for polyester. But it usually goes like this at the metal detector:

DUMB: Boarding pass, please.
ME: I'm the flight attendant.
DUMB (staring straight at me): Boarding pass.
ME (pointing to my wings and ID): Flight attendant.
DUMB: I need to see your boarding pass, sir. You're holding up the--
ME: I... am... the flight attendant... on this flight.

Two seconds pass. DUMB's face lights up with a dizzy grin as if I've just now appeared before him.

DUMB: Come on through, sir!

In North Carolina, a security butch actually argued that I wasn't in uniform. I was this close to asking her, "You think I dress like this because I think it looks good?" but the captain intervened. Seeing that she was wrong in front of a bunch of people, she ordered me a bag check just for spite. Things happen like that.
Back to the shirts. It's summer now, and it's time to break out the short-sleeve ones, and they look like this:

Yeah, it's the pilot shirt. It was one of the options for order, and I figured, when am I ever going to get the chance to seriously wear a shirt like this? So I got some. But a few things come along with wearing this shirt, though, for which I was not prepared:
For one, the pockets are wack. Even though it's a button flap pocket, it opens at the top, as if there's no flap. The button unbuttons, and the flap comes up, but there's no pocket under it... it's over the flap. That makes for a damn useless pocket.
Another thing is that, from a distance, some pilots think you're another pilot. Most pilots wear gold stripes, but some wear silver. And those ones give me the secret pilot nod that conveys solidarity among those who routinely sit in a too-small room in pairs to look at sky for twelve hours at a time. And if you're not ready with the return nod, well... you're out of the club.
Yet another thing is that passengers in the airport ask you questions on sight. It never occurred to me before, but I guess if you only go to an airport once a year and you see a pilot, you might well assume he works at that airport, for your airline, and possibly your very plane. So they ask. And invariably the answer is, "Sorry, ma'am, I don't work here," for which I get a stern stare. And most of the time I do feel bad, because hey, I am dressed like I ought to know something. But I am secretly waiting for some self-important cellphone-talking businessman to corner me and yell, "You know, my plane was late and it's your fault because the airlines are screwing us, and I scheduled a ten minute connection that I've gotta make, so why don't you do your job for once and tell me where the E concourse is?"
I am, of course, waiting for this so that I can say in my best pilot voice, "E gates? They're this way, down between the L and M concourses. Good luck, sir."

Friday, June 08, 2007


Today as I was headed to the back of the plane to make an announcement, a foreign fellow waves his hand at me. "You, eh, heff something on your shirt." I think wow, great, now I have to find a laundromat in a strange city. I thank him, and he shakes his head. "No, it is, eh... movink." So I head back up to the front of the plane, because I figure it'll undermine my professional demeanor if the passengers see me chasing a small bug around my shirt. When I see Morgan, the flight attendant recruit, turn pale and start backing away, I formulate the idea that maybe this isn't a small bug, and think that it would definitely undermine my professional demeanor if the passengers see me flail and scream like a young girl. At the same time, I feel a chitinous pincer caress the flesh of my throat. Knowing I may have picoseconds to live, I send a hand up to my collar and grab something the size of a magnolia leaf.
It's a locust. And it's looking at me.
I do flail, but not much. And I scream, but it's a closed-mouth scream, so as to keep this devil-insect from flying straight into my mouth (which they all, deep down in their black bug souls, want to do). And as I'm howling MMMMMMMMM I sling this bug as far as I can, which is not far, since I'm in the galley. It goes WEEEEEEEEE around the galley, causing Morgan to flail and scream like a young girl (which she somehow pulls off). It lodges in the seal of the now-closed cabin door and watches us hungrily.
Amusingly, only the first row of passengers have noticed any of this. And, of course, the foreign guy whose fault this all is.
But the really funny part (at least to me, because I was in the back of the plane) is that the flight that contained this locust was Morgan's final test flight, and she had to rattle off that killer nine-paragraph announcement while keeping a ready eye on the bug, who may or may not have been readying to strike at any moment. But, I am happy to report, Morgan plowed through, and she has now joined our ranks. And along with all her other qualifications, she gets to list that she's bug-proof.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


The other flight attendant I'm flying with this trip (the same one with the carnivorous elevator) is an IOE instructor. You may or may not remember what that is. If you do, don't read the next 26 words; an IOE instructor leads a flight attendant recruit just out of school through their first trip and pronounces them an official FA if they survive it. In Atlanta, we picked up just such a recruit, and I got to watch an IOE without actually having to be in it. Actually, I got to ignore the whole thing... since the instructor was instructing, and the new FA was learning, and there are usually only two FAs on board, I just stayed out of the way for most of the trip. Basically flew six legs looking out the window and getting paid for it. Nice.
The other thing about having three FAs on a plane is that there is nowhere to put them all. You've seen the galley... it's barely big enough for one. Putting two in there is like Twister. Three is Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Two And A Halfth Floor

Milwaukee. I had already been having a Bad Device Day, which is a subset of the Bad Physics Day wherein no device designed to make life easier works as designed. B.P.Ds are different from general bad days; a bad day is just a cluster of unlucky happenings, but in a true B.P.D., the events are arranged in ascending order from least to most frustrating, ending in an unbelievably stupid and specific disaster that grabs you by the metaphorical lapels and shouts, "YES, THE UNIVERSE IS MESSING WITH YOU, BOY." This particular B.D.D. started with my cellphone and worked its way up fractally through the shower, my electric razor, my laptop, and the business center computer downstairs (including the computer chair, the company website, and eventually the internet itself). And since it knew I had to go back up to the third floor, the Universe had one card left to play. All the events of the morning had led me downstairs, and the only place left to go from there was back into the elevator, and by the title of this entry, I think you can infer that I didn't make it to the third floor.
When you become stuck in an elevator, you begin a thought process that basically mirrors the construction of a B.P.D. Eventualities pass through your mind in ascending direness on their way to your imminent panic attack. Hmmm, this is a slow elevator. Really slow. Bet I get stuck, ha ha, I... oh crap, what was that? Nothing, that's what. Just a noise. These old elevators make noises. But they're still safe. I mean, why would they put an elevator in a hotel if it wasn't... oh crap, there it was again. It's not moving. It's not moving. I may be stuck. Am I stuck? Oh CRAP I'm stuck. This isn't happening. This IS happening! I'm damn stuck in an elevator!
I imagine that's what you'd normally think. It was a little different and a lot more simple for me because of the already-in-progress B.D.D.; I went instantly hatstand and started kicking the elevator door and cussing, not because I was stuck but because it was yet ANOTHER damn thing gone wrong. When I finally calmed down, I was more fascinated that panicked, because I'd always wondered what it would be like to get stuck in an elevator, and here now I was. Also because I figured a screeching plummet from the almost-third floor would probably only break most of my bones and not actually kill me.
So what do you do in a stuck elevator? First thought was to call the other FA to have her go to the front desk and let them know I had been captured, but the Universe, ever the chess player, had ensured that my cellphone had no reception. Now I've gotten reception in 20th floor elevators, but not twenty feet off the ground? Classic B.D.D. Next thought, the elevator phone. In most of the elevators I've been in, there is a little box with a phone in it. But since most of those elevators were in Louisiana, the phones were all stolen. But this one was intact, so I picked it up. At that point, I realized I had no idea what number to call. And you can't look up anything in the phone book because you're stuck in an elevator. Luckily, it was one of those jobs that goes directly to the front desk. "Stuck? OK, cool. We'll be there in ten minutes."
Ten minutes later I was out. Ten minutes after that, I had called the crew and told them to use the stairs. And so I survived yet another brush with death. OK, brush with fall from twenty feet. But that probably would have stung a bit.

Speaking of elevators, here's a joke: What's Darth Vader's sister's name?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Just Plain Old F@#K

This is a thing that actually happened about four months ago, and I'm just now calm enough to write about it. Back at the old apartments, I was backing out of the covered parking and some guy came blasting through the lot behind me, and while I was paying attention to him, I stopped paying attention to the pole holding up the covered parking, and there was what those in the collision industry call a 'paint exchange.'

This is something 'oh my heck' just does not cover.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Duck Hole

I am still here in the stinky apartment. But not for long. I went back and forth with the maintenance people about is there a smell, what is the smell, where is the smell. A Croatian fix-it guy came over and said, "Eye heff a solution for you, surr. Layrn to smowke." And it was so funny that I did not murder him. Finally got one of the managers to set foot in the place and take a good whiff, and as a result, now they're moving me to a different apartment in the same complex. Which is good... I like it here. Except for the smell.
But what we're really going to talk about here is more ducks. There seems to be a duck thing going on here in Utah. Places have ducks. Everywhere you go, ducks. They're ubiquitous. Yeah, I used that word just to use it.
What this place has, however, is much more grandiose than just ducks... this place has a duck hole.

To be fair, I think it used to be a duck pond, and from the presence of the construction equipment, I'd say that it will one day again be a duck pond, but right now it's pretty much a hole. Before I got this picture, there was just dirt, a little bit of stinky green water, and better than thirty duck residents, most of whom were rubber-duckie sized. That was endless fun, watching them go foop foop foop one at a time over the edge of the hole, on the way back from wherever ducks go. Most of them took off when the machines started, but there's this one stalwart piece of work that has camped out right out in the middle of the hole. He's there day and night. I see him on the way to the laundry machines sometimes, and he fixes me with a frosty glare, warning me to stay away.
And I do.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Perfect Attendant

I got an email the other day that congratulated me on perfect attendance for six months. I can't believe I did that. I've never done anything (to include not doing anything) for six months straight.
Now I get a day off. But if I take it, doesn't that break my streak?