Sunday, May 25, 2008

Air India

Coming back from Vancouver to L.A., I expected another random celebrity. What there was instead of that was fifty Indian folk. There are two things I noticed on this flight. The first is that Indian folk all seem to immediately take their shoes off on a plane. The second is something I've decided to call Curry Feet.
That said, I had a ball. I used to know a girl who taught me enough Hindi to get in trouble, and so when the guy in the last row decided he was going to try to knock the props out from under me in Hindi, I answered back, and BOOP I have fifty uproariously laughing Indian friends. "You come India," this guy continues. "Not bad plane like this. Big plane India. You friend! You come India!"
It's always a party on that flight.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Vancouver By The Spokes

This last month I bid for Vancouver trips, and boy did I get 'em. I was in Vancouver every time I took a breath. And so this last time, I actually got out of the hotel room and got into it.
Took a bus downtown to the island. That's what the locals called it, 'the island.' How you're gonna drive a bus to an island is beyond me, but after half an hour and no water, we got there. Hit a bike shop and rented some hideous bikes, along with some equally hideous helmets. Vancouver has a helmet law, and this law ensured I didn't talk to a single girl the entire sojourn.

The bike shop folks pointed us towards a place called Prospect Point. What, I decided after an hour pedaling uphill, they had omitted in their information was that Prospect Point is a damn hour uphill. It was worth it, though... the restaurant at the top is the literal high point of Vancouver, and the view is astounding. We sat on a balcony that juts out over the road we'd just biked up, and out past the trees was the harbor, and then the Pacific. Fantastic.

Also met a beluga whale at the Vancouver Aquarium. Here, she's saying hi. That's a fat whale.

After a harrowing ten-minute traffic slalom back down the hill, we traded in the bikes for the keys to the city streets. Got a faceful of chocolate cake at a place called True Confections. One of the crew split off to take the bus home, and the beer drinking then commenced. It gets a little hazy after that, but what I think I remember is that we sampled a Canadian beer that you should never ever drink. Unfortunately, what I know happened is that I forgot the name of this beer. And so I apologize to Aviatrix and all my Canadian readers for this lack of warning.
Vancouver is awesome. I can see why so many people rave about it. There's still a crazy bridge there that I'm told I have to see, but beyond that, Vancouver is done.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The March For World Domination Continues

Someone in Hawaii is reading. Another Australian. There's one in Sweden. And is that the Philippines? This is cool. Say hello, all. And not to be leaving out the folk in the Americas who have carried my collection of airplane dumbness far and wide. I can barely see the U.S. for all the readers... awesome!
Need to find me some Russians. Or Chinese people. Or Indians. Now that I think about it, perhaps that continent's a dead spot because none of those languages use our letters. Or maybe vodka and mah jongg are just more fun than this blog. Consensus?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do

My loyal diehards will remember that when I first moved to SLC and really didn't even live anywhere yet, I bought a huge widescreen TV. Priorities are what made me do that. However, while most people watch TV on TV, I don't. Video games and DVDs are what that thing is for... it's never recieved a broadcast signal.
Until now.
Recently I became a 'Lost'-head. I think it was genetic. I haven't watched TV since the Army cured me of it in 1995. But one morning in March, I just woke up needing to know what the hell those people were doing on the island. So I found the ABC website and whomped through one season a week until I was caught up, and then stayed current by watching new episodes on TV in hotels or watching them online the next day. I am not a patient person, so when I'm not on a trip and have to wait a whole day to see an episode, I just sort of stare at the screen all night, imagining what's going to happen on the show and lamenting that I haven't bought an antenna yet. Well, last week, it occurred to me that while my TV doesn't have an antenna, my stereo does. So I did some wire-yanking and re-configurating, and lo, we get signal. So I watched my first TV show on my own TV. And it only took two years!

Any 'Lost' fans out there? Identify yourselves.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NOT Cleared To Taxi

I always bag on airport personnel other than FAs. Well, now I'm gonna bag on us. One of us, actually, and not me. A pilot told me a story the other day in which a new FA, having just gotten her ID that lets her down onto the runway, threw on some sweats and went jogging on the runway. After the damn police tanks surrounded her, she explained that it just seemed like a great place to run.
For some reason, I just have this feeling those sweats were velour and had PINK printed across the butt.

Friday, May 09, 2008

As Close As You Wanna Get

Those of you who watch the news know there's been a lot of tornadoes lately. Know where those things come from? Not the tornado factory. That's what I thought too. They actually come from clouds that pilots call cells. So when there's bad weather, what you have is one or two jerk cells hovering over your city throwing tornadoes at you all day. A few days ago, we flew over one of these things at night, and I had the chance to break out the camera; yes, it is sixty seconds of a black cloud at night, but the every-now-and-then lightning is pretty cool.

WARNING: usually, there's an obscure association hidden in the titles of my entries, so if they don't make sense, think about it for a while. Not so with the music over the videos. It's just what's in my head as I'm editing. Don't blow a gasket looking for higher meaning.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Wise Guy

Seem to be getting celebrities like mad now that the gate is open. Ray Wise sat down in first class the other day. You may not recognize the name, but you've definitely seen him in something; among one thousand other things, he was Leland Palmer from 'Twin Peaks,' and is now V.P. Hal Gardner on '24.' But what I recognized him from was his turn as bad guy Leon Nash from RoboCop, one of my all-time favorite movies.

RoboCop © 1987, Orion Pictures

He was a very polite and intelligent guy, which threw me off, because Leon was a total sleaze. Taught me a few things about how bad chlorine is in drinking water. Broke my own rule and told him I liked him in RoboCop, and he said being in that was great fun.
Come on, Mark Hamill. Come on Mark Hamill.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Humor For The Obtuse

Today there was a Finnish girl in the last row. Anyone else think that's funny?

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Every time you overnight in San Antonio, there's always talk of going to the Riverwalk. Somehow, it never happens. Some pilot's meeting up with his wife, someone's a slam-clicker, the world is ending, something. But this last time, the other three crewmembers were go, and damn if I'm gonna mess that up. So we hopped a bus and blasted downtown.
We found this charming but cannon-holed mission on the way there. Can't remember the name. But there was a big fight there. General Santa Ana (who was a Scientologist) won that fight, even though his troops were wearing appallingly hot and unfashionable wool uniforms. The place is smaller than it looks on TV, though the actual borders of the mission extend a lot further. And present day San Antonio has encroached on it so much that it's actually hidden between banks and coffeeshops. Guess there's no market for conquering religious outposts these days. But if there's ever an opportunity to go down swinging in a fight to the last man at McDonalds, I'll be there, and on the losing side.

Inside, it looks like this.

And also like this.

And this too.

After that, it was Riverwalk time. For those of you who have never been there, it's not just a clever name... you actually walk along a river. Couldn't tell you what one, but it is a river. I have a proof.

It's a clever setup. You go down to steps from street level to get there, and each time you come to a street, you go under a bridge. So it actually happens right in the middle of town, but doesn't take up any room.

It's a beautiful walk. Trees, water, stone walkways, hot chicks, everything. We stopped in at a Mexican place (imagine that) for lunch, and when I say one, I mean two; the wait was so long that we split up and got in two different lines at two different places, and then jammed on the one that buzzed us first. There's lots of stores too, and hotels. One day, I'm gonna go stay a few days at the Riverwalk... that would be cool.
Also, there are ducks there too. Why did I never notice this about America?

Another thing about San Antonio is that there's a new Raising Cane's at the airport. I have so far enlightened several pilots. And yet another thing is that there's a Pappadeaux there. Really good Cajun food. I actually bid several San Antonio trips this month just to go back there. Ate dinner there with a Canadian FA, and she had never seen anyone eat boiled crawfish. Having grown up in Louisiana, I'd never thought about it, but as I saw the face she made when they brought it to the table, I realized that yes, I am preparing to eat a heaping plateful of bugs.
Ate 'em anyway. I'm good people.

Friday, May 02, 2008

This Winter In Snowboarding

Instead of making you all endure a snowboard update every two minutes or so, I figured I'd wait till the end of the season and write one big cohesive blowout. That way, if I died an ignominous death at the hands of frozen water, you wouldn't hear about it.
This was the first year I got to try out my new rig... a pair of Burton Moto boots and Burton Mission bindings on a 2008 Burton Air snowboard. The boots and bindings I got last year at a Spring sale, where amazingly I met Casey, an old friend of mine from Baton Rouge who'd moved here to Utah while I wasn't looking. Like right down the damn street here in Utah. The board is new, and has kind of a story... the short version is my mother bought it for me, and the long version is that my mother's father, who skied right up until he died, smiled down on her as she bought it for me with her inheritance. And so it's kind of a gift from both of them, and I often thought of them as I was blasting out of control down the mountain this season.
This was also the first year I went snowboarding with a goatee. Discovered that it actually freezes to your face above a certain altitude. And it feels frozen for the rest of the day; it's like a phantom ice beard for hours after you've thawed.

Last year I didn't really venture past the kiddie slope, but this year I went higher, prodded by boarder Casey, his girlfriend Roxy (a lifelong skier whom he calls the Queen of Death), and my own pride. Caromed down steeper runs, and learned a little more control at higher speeds. Learned about a little thing called ice face. Ice face is when you wipe out and your board sprays snow all over your face. It seems kinda funny and innocuous, but then the pain begins... it's ice, and it's on your face (hence the name), and you can't get it off because you have gloves on. So you have to sit there with your face freezing off, waving your arms and keening like a fairy, until it melts. Solution: do not wipe out.

Also saw something I can only describe as a bra tree. Again, it's a fairly straightforward name... on one of the lifts, you pass over a tree strung with about fifty brassieres. After much internet research, I discovered that brassieres come from naked girls, which are about the last things you would expect to encounter outside in the winter, much less in groups of fifty. I cannot account for this tree. However, I kept a close eye on it.
I also learned how to drive (and how not to drive) up a mountain in snow. It's a spooky feeling to try to pass a bus on a mountain road and suddenly your wheels start spinning and you start drifting backwards. Another dumb thing I did was slide into a snowbank. I was wheeling into the parking lot, and as I made the turn, my wheels thought it would be funny to go a different direction, and they drifted me into a ten foot wall of snow. Couldn't get the car out... wheels would only spin. And naturally, there was a whole parking lot full of people there to laugh at me when I finally tunneled out the window. Luckily, several of those people were buff college guys who helped extricate my car while I maintained a high state of embarrassment.

The last time I went out this season, Casey and the QOD brought me up the the tip-top of Snowbird. You can see over the whole Salt Lake valley, all the way to the mountains on the other side. It's a jaw-dropping view. And the ride down is equally as jaw-dropping, but in a different way... your jaw gets blown off your face by the sheer speed. There were several times I was sure I was going to die. On a narrow path with a wall of ice on one side and a steep cliff on the other, you can't brake... all you can do is continue going the speed of sound and not turn. But I learned as I went, through powder and ice, and though I had some pretty spectacular falls, I kept up with Casey and the Queen, and made it to the bottom each time. And now I can say I'm an intermediate snowboarder.
Next year, double black diamond. I am unstoppable.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

That Was Easy!