Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm not a local

Cruise was fun. Of the three cabins, we charged the least onto our onboard account. Kelli and I spent roughly $600 for onboard charges. Jami (sister in law) and Kelly (Jami's girlfriend) spent roughly 1/3 more while Peggy and John....well I will say John charged a good amount.

This time we sailed on the Norwegian Dawn. The boarding process was fast. We arrived at 1:20PM at the pier and were on board within 10 minutes. Most of that time was walking.

The rooms were larger than the Norwegian Sky. The bathroom was much larger. Having a window in the room was nice....we didn't look out of it much though.

The Dawn is much larger than the Sky. One thing was odd. We could feel the ship counteracting the waves while on the Dawn. There are water jets on each side of the boat that are controlled by a computer to attempt to quell the normal rowing of the boat. It did a good job, but we could feel the jets shooting out. It wasn't rough....didn't make anyone in our party sick....but we could feel the jets. We didn't feel anything while on the Sky.

Some time this week I might put up a full review. I'm still pretty tired. I think Kelli and I had so much energy on the cruise because we were eating all the time. There is a food available (free of course) 24 hours a day while on a cruise. The food was very good for the most part. The scrambled eggs were always too runny and the biscuits and gravy were cooked up by someone who has never been to Texas.

The stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel were too short too see much beyond the shopping areas. I would like to fly back to Cozumel one day and see more. Apparently I look Hispanic as several vendors and residents of Cozumel would approach me speaking Spanish. "But Darren they probably only know Spanish!" No.....because many times I would be walking behind a Caucasian and the vendor would greet them in English...then I would approach....out came the Spanish. I was even sitting in a courtyard in Cozumel when I was approached by 3 people trying to invite me to a local church gathering that night. When I spoke English one of them spoke in perfect English, "Sorry we thought you were a local." Hmmm yeah. Guess I should brush up on my Spanish.

Kelli didn't get sick much on the cruise. Just queasy. Once she got back that....upchuck city. Odd.

Getting back from Miami was a little tricky. The direct flights showed to be full all Saturday when we looked Friday night. Peggy and John were flying thru Dallas onan 8AM flight then connecting to a Portland flight. Kelli and I decided to simply go through Houston on the way back. The flights were less than 1/4th full. Of course the next morning we saw that the first Miami to Dallas flight went out with 20 non-revs AND empty seats. This is common as people change their minds on getting up super early for a flight. Oh well. Our one stop flight home thru Houston went fine.

My netbook did fine for the cruise. Didn't miss the Macbook Pro.....much.

I don't think I want an flash.

I want a new slot machine....Super Stars Spin. I had a blast playing it while on the cruise.

Photos of the cruise posted sometime this week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How to get through TSA checkpoints quickly

Airport security. The Transportation Security Administration. There are a ton of jokes I could spout off about the TSA. But I will refrain. Instead I will tell you how I breeze thru security at airports around the country. From the time I first grab a bin to the time I am walking to the gate is normally under 45 seconds if no one is in front of me.

I start thinking about security before I even walk into the terminal. Before I even head for the airport.

Unless I am in Uniform, I typically dress in business casual clothing. The belt I wear is nice, while having a minimal amount of metal. By having so little metal, my belts (all two of them) never cause the metal detector to go off. Keeping my belt on saves me a good 18 seconds. I prefer to wear slip on shoes. Easy on....easy off. Again business causal. Wearing loose clothing also helps on board comfort.

Once I walk into the airport I step to the side and give myself a once over.

I examine myself for any metal on my body I don't need. Sunglasses get stashed in my jacket or carry on. Wallet goes in my carry on bag or jacket. I have an advantage over most being I wear an airline ID that trumps any state issued ID. For those without an airline ID, take out your ID and place it and your boarding pass in a pocket. Ladies place them in the outermost pocket of your purse if you have no pockets. This is the only thing that should be in your pockets.

Those who know me know I like gadgets. I travel with a T-Mobile G1, Zune HD, some form of laptop (HP Netbook or Apple Macbook Pro), headphones, associated charging cables and always a digital camera.

Cell phone, camera, Zune HD are all in my carry on along with ANY other metal objects. By placing them in a carry on it eliminates the risk of leaving them behind at security OR worse (and more common than you think) someone walking off with them.

I make sure the laptop is easily accessible. I don't carry a TSA approved laptop bag that allows me to leave the computer in the bag while being Xrayed mostly because I don't want to spend the cash. Instead I have neopreene sleeves for my bags. My liquids are in a quart size bag in the outermost pocket of my carry on bag.

Since I don't carry a true laptop bag I stash all the computer cables in my carry on bag/suitcase.

Once I am sure I am free of metal, time to clear the TSA.

After the TSA examines your ID, slip it into your jacket or into your carry on. People leave behind/drop ID's everyday. Now the only thing you have to hold onto is your boarding pass.

I grab two bins. One for the laptop, one for my jacket and shoes and liquids. I am very picky about the order of things going through the Xray.

First goes my carry on bag. Next up is the bin with my jacket and shoes. Jacket on bottom, shoes with the soles facing up (as to keep my jacket clean) next and liquids on the side. Last is the bin with my laptop. This way I can keep an eye on my laptop. If you have anything of value I advise you do the same and send it through last. If you send valuables thru first and the line gets held up, your valuables are now sitting 20+ feet away and could easily walk off. Again it happens everyday.

Once I walk thru the scanner I grab my carry on bag and set it up right. Next up is my jacket which I put on and then slip on my shoes. I slip the liquids back into the front pocket of my carry on. By the time I am done the laptop should be arriving. Since I carry it in a neoprene bag it stayed inside the entire time. I grab the laptop bag and away I go.

Once I am clear of the area I pull over and dig out my cell phone, wallet and Zune. Good to go.

Below are some of the common mistakes I see:

1.Parents. Get rid of stuff in your kids hands and pockets. I have seen one set of amazing parents go through with kids who couldn't have been more than 4 years old.  Each had on a small backpack. The kids were each playing with a Nintendo DS while waiting in line. Once it was almost their turn the parents warned the kids to pause the games. They did and put the games in their backpacks. Their shoes then came off. The whole family breezed thru. Once clear the kids were back playing games. Quick and easy.

2.Go through your bag while packing and make SURE there are no liquids. Seriously...go through your bag. Even that little lotion bottle. Tip for avoiding paying $4 for a bottle of water, buy a nice reusable bottle...fill it once you go through security.

3.Finish texting/talking on the cell phone/whatever before you enter line. Your life can wait for a few minutes

4. If your laptop isn't in an approved TSA bag OR in a neoprene bag all by must be taken out and put in a bin by itself. Same goes for portable DVD players. Kindle owners I would send it through like a laptop. My wife has had her backpack rescreened each time her Kindle is packed inside.

5. If you are on any liquid medication it is EXEMPT from the 3 ounce rule as long as it's in it original container with the pharmacy label on it. If you have something else....make sure you have documentation.

Getting thru the TSA checkpoints isn't rocket science. It's all about planning. The trickiest part is picking which lane to go through if there are multiple lanes. In general I profile. I avoid old people, kids and young adults. So basically I follow guys in business suits. They are likely frequent travellers and can zip through. I am also not shy about walking around slow folks who clog up the area around the bins.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Facebook kills blogs

So last week Kelli and I announced the infestation of the energy sucker at the same time. We assumed all of our friends saw the post. Nope. Quite a few of mine missed it. One friend.....who formally read THIS blog often....missed it. She found out last night when I made a post about Kelli, pregnancy and chocolate. She sent me a message stating that since I have been on Facebook....she doesn't read my blogs. Sad. I will admit for a while I got off blogging as I just posted on Facebook. Now I make an effort to update this blog and Facebook daily.

While sitting at the airport yesterday with a pilot friend of mine, he clued me in to a great idea. When the energy sucker arrives I will be eligible for FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). My friend just had his first kid. He said someone told him to break up the FMLA days off and use them over holidays. I have 12 months to use it. I won't get paid for the time off....but it could be nice to be home for the energy suckers first Christmas that it will never remember. And it's first birthday that it will never remember. And it's first hangover that it will never remember. Don't judge!

My shipment from arrived yesterday. I will be sporting my threads during the cruise.

Thought of a funny joke only I would laugh at....well maybe others will. So the energy sucker will be a little more than 1/2 Caucasian and a little less than 1/2 black/african american/negro (forgot to check with Al Sharpton for the term of the week). Anyway eventually the energy sucker will meet more people from Kelli's side of the family....specifically her mom's side of the family. When this happens Kelli and I will take our mixed race baby to seen the Koons. Just sounds funny.

Me: "Hey we are going to take our energy sucker to Oregon and see some Koons." I crack myself up.

Oh it's funny because my mother in laws maiden name is Koons. And well...they are all Caucasian.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Contact Lens Exams.....a scam brought on by the Obama Administration

Tried to get my annual eye exam yesterday. After arriving and filling out the paperwork the secretary called to verify our insurance. Denied until 2/1/2010. Apparently my last exam was 2/4/2009 and I am only being given a 3 day grace period. Boo. I have just enough contacts to get by. I am planning on getting a cheap pair of glasses as I hate wasting contacts on days where I just sit at home.

Getting an exam every year is a waste of money for average wearers....once every two years would make more sense. I have no problem getting an eye exam yearly, but to spiff over the extra money for a "contact lens exam"...scam.

Kelli hasn't been blogging about the energy sucker this week so I will do a quick wrap up here. The energy sucker has introduced his buddy morning sickness. Morning sickness at first only had his friend dry heaves but this morning the whole shabang arrived. Additionally Kelli's already spotty short term memory is getting a little worse. Me...well I'm not infested with anything but sarcasm.

I love Need For Speed Shift.

This cruise will be the longest I will be unplugged from the Internet since I was 11 years old. Yeah 22 years. I am sure I will break down and check in at some point. I did find an Internet Cafe in Nassau last year.

I work today and tomorrow...then off till February.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another Non-Rev Adventure Down

So far I am 3 for 3 for shipping arranging my friends around the country. First was Kerry and her boykid to Portland. Then Katrina down to Houston. Most recently Eric, Angela and Marin to Chicago and back.

The two families with kids did something Kelli and I have never done while non-reving...they checked bags. Kelli and I travel light. For now. With offspring...guess it's not really possible. One great thing is when traveling on my baggage fees! Eric checked two bags there and three back. The baggage fees alone would have been $100 ($20 for the first bag per person....$30 for the second but since 3 people were traveling it's one $20 charge per person). I haven't heard any complaints so I assume they all got their bags.

The flights were decently open. The flight back from Chicago was a little full....but they got on....even had seats together.

Kelli and I have often seen where non-rev guest don't get on flights and get stuck in remote places. It really sucks as non-rev guest get on after all paying passengers, then all employees and their families. It can be tricky. There is a new tool though that allows me to see the planned non-revs and if they are employees or guests. Helps a little. What helps a lot with my friends is, so far, they have all started and ended their trip in Dallas, which is a hub.

Gotta get my eyes checked today. Almost out of contacts. I'm going to pickup a cheap pair of glasses as well. Makes no sense to waste a pair of contacts on days where I sit at home all day. Can't see TV without them.

This summer will mark 8 years that Kelli has adored me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Because I can

Friday I am taking a day trip to Detroit for the 2010 North American International Auto Show. It sucks that it's in's really cold there. I went last year and enjoyed it.

Saturday is where the real fun begins. I have two plans.

Plan A: Fly to Houston George Bush airport at 7AM, rent a car, see my dad, fix his computer, eat lunch and then fly from Houston George Bush to Miami at 6PM arriving at 9:30PM.

Plan B: Fly to Houston Hobby Airport at 7:25AM, rent a car, see my dad, fix his computer, eat lunch then fly from Houston Hobby back to DFW to connect on the flight my mother and law and father in law (and probably Kelli) will be traveling on and go to Miami.

Which plan I pick largely depends on flight loads.

My Macbook Pro battery is down to almost 1/2 it's original capacity. This is my second Macbook Pro battery in less than two years. Not happy. I stay plugged in most of the time anyway. When I travel as a passenger I typically bring my netbook anyway. Still annoying.

Added another name for the creature growing inside of Kelli. It's on

Eric, Angela and Marin had no problems getting to Chicago....on Saturday. One funny thing was the seating assignments by the gate agent.

They were traveling on a MD80 which has 2 seats on one side and three on the other. Well the gate agent assigned Eric and Angela seats on the two side and Marin an isle seat on the other side. Would be kinda funny to see Marin just chilling in her aisle seat and get all fussy when someone next to her needs to get up for the restroom "What you can't go in your pants like me? Do your parents not love you?" Ha. I crack myself up.

Kelli's depth perception sucks. She's been parking the same car in the same garage on the same side of the garage for more than 4 years...almost 5. She still can't stop in close to the same spot. I don't get it. Her car isn't that long. Note to self, get a really big stroller with bumpers and a proximity sensor.

Speaking of strollers. A very nice Captain I fly with gave us a Peg-Preggo car seat that is practically brand new. This is a very fancy (and expensive listing for $275 at seat. Apparently it's part of a modular system. I've flown with this Captain a few times and told him all about Kelli and I. About a year ago Kelli was flying back from Amarillo and this Captain was flying the flight. When he heard she was on board he called her up to the cockpit and of course asked how someone so intelligent could be married to me (in a joking way). I asked myself the same thing and am thankful each time the garage door opens meaning I still live here.

The Captain gave it to me as I was sitting in the airport on standby. Thankfully Kelli was driving home at the same time as I was not looking forward to taking the baby seat on the bus. I did get a few looks as I emerged from a stairwell into the terminal in uniform carrying a baby seat. Eh.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Things I've Learned From Women Who Have Dumped Me.....

It's no secret I love technology. Yesterday while sitting in the bowels of the airport, I gave part two of a technology consultation with a Captain (part one was the day prior). He was (like most American) paying $70+ a month for phone and Internet plus another $120+ for television. Kelli and I pay $120 a month for all three. The biggest chunk of change will be saved by switching to Ooma for phone service. Ooma pays for itself in a few short months. I bet my mother in law could save a ton of money by switching to Ooma. Same phone number....same dial bill.

Found out we aren't the only one's who are going to dive into poop and throw up this year. A fraternity brother of mine is going to have twins in August/July. Additionally another couple we know is set up to have a kid. The connection is all three of us had troubles getting a bun in the oven. Ironically we will pull the loafs out around the same time frame.

I love my man cave. A place where Kelli doesn't complain about the disorganization. I  do need to straighten things up a bit in here though.

The flight for Eric, Angela and Marin tonight isn't looking so great. Tomorrow morning looks much better. I'm going to keep an eye on today's flight just in case.

Right now I'm reading (listening from Audible really) Things I've Learned From Women Who Have Dumped Me . The book is very funny and is told by several different men (so far.....might be a woman reader maybe?). One of the funniest sections was a father gushing about his new born daughter then going crazy as she seemed to love (and not throw up on) everyone but him. The book is under $10 on Amazon. If you have a MP3 player or want to burn CD's you can get the book free by following this link to Audible. Audible books aren't normal audio books. The readers are all very engaging. I really enjoy it.

Time for coffee....lots of it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome and my wife

Yesterday I missed another appointment with Kelli. It's the second of many I am sure I will miss. My job isn't very flexible sometimes.

Kelli is infested with a leech. The leech is sucking away vital resources from her. She has grown attached to the leach (this is similar to Stockholm Syndrome) and takes daily injections to keep the leech....leeching. Here is a photo of the leech:

[singlepic id=1605 w=640 h=480 float=center]

I can already see the effect of melding my primary oxygen fetcher with Kelli's. The nose CLEARLY has the same upslope that Kelli has. is updated. Kelli was writing weekly blogs for the past month or so but didn't hit the publish button until today.

We finally took the plunge and upgraded our toll tags to the new sticker kind. Previously we had these sizeable rectangles velcro'd to our windshields. The problem was the velcro would get hot in the summer and the tolltag would fall off. My windshield has a bunch of old goo I need to remove.

I wanted to get new one's by mail. Not possible. We had to do it in person. Much happier now.

Kelli made an interesting comment yesterday. She loves the interface on her Zune HD....but not her T-Mobile G1. I don't ask Kelli much about technology or gadgets because I thought she see's most things as just appliances. For a long time she wanted just a cell phone, a basic laptop and she used the same clunky XM radio for years. Getting her to change isn't easy.

I agree with her that the touchscreen on the Zune is much more responsive and smooth than the G1. Playing the limited number of games on the Zune is more enjoyable than the G1. Browsing the web is MUCH nicer on the Zune than the G1. I wouldn't mind a Microsoft phone with the Zune's interface and smoothness.

Kelli doesn't say much about her Macbook but I am pretty sure she won't want to go back to Windows anytime soon. In the short course of less than 18 months her family has purchased 3 Macs. Once nice side effect....the number of support calls to me has dropped by 99%.

I bought a few vacation shirts from Nothing offensive. I need to dig out an old shirt I bought for the trip to Hawaii. My "I'm With Stupid Shirt" was disliked by everyone on the trip. Can't wait.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Preparing for the cruise...

The cruise is less than two weeks away. Because I am Mr. Paranoid I am going to buy 22 mile range walkie talkies for us. This way we can all stay in contact on the ship AND in ports of call.

I used a clay bar on my car to clean my paint yesterday. I then waxed  it. All the stooping took a toll on my thighs.....getting old sucks. Car looks amazing though. One annoyance is the thin paint on the hood. Lots of knicks. Gotta work on that.

I love Need For Speed Shift on the Xbox 360. I won't say how much I play on line....but it could be a second job.

My poor geeeky buddy Kerry had a terrible time sending me money recently. I arranged for her and her child to fly to Portland last month. Everything went fine. She initially tried to mail me a check. Never arrived. She then tried Paypal via checking account transfer. Paypal locked up the payment for 4 days then cancelled it. She finally Fedex'd me the money. I did have a little fun with her and told her the Fedex envelope was empty.

This weekend I am planning on arranging for Eric, Angela and Marin to Chicago. Right now the Friday night flight is a little iffy. If it were just Eric and Angela it would be doable as they could fly in First Class.  Worst case is they fly up Saturday morning. Don't know why they want to fly into that confusing, crazy, tourette's syndrome inducing airport. Well I guess it isn't so bad as a passenger. The Chicago O'hare airport does  have a truly beautifully decorated terminal.

We are watching American Idol right now. Kelli thinks if we every have kids that we should support them no matter what they want to do. I disagree. If our kid wants to be a trans-sexual gypsy Additionally if any product of our DNA truly sucks at something.....I'm gonna tell them. No sugar coating coming from me. Well a little. I will guide them to be a that's the only way they will get to heaven.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Geek In Me

I love toys gadgets devices that make life better. Of course it is easy to get over saturated and have too many devices. I have to be very careful when bringing technology into the house as Kelli is very standoffish to new stuff. Kelli is very set in her ways.

A few years ago she thought I was crazy and ADD for building a computer to use on the couch. That spawned into my first laptop. Now we BOTH sit on the couch with laptops. She was the same way with a smart phone.....oh and an MP3 player. It would be great for both of us if we could combine a smart phone and an MP3 player. If our G1's has REAL headphone jacks that would be possible with Pandora radio. Pandora radio is a free streaming radio service. You simply tell Pandora what kind of music you like and it will program non-stop radio to your From what I have heard and read it's VERY good. Our phones can do it....but again we don't have REAL headphone jacks....and I hate dongles/adapters.  The Nexus One has a headphone jack....and runs the same software (Android) that Kelli and I love. Of course the Nexus One is $530.

Power. All my devices need power. I carry a USB battery to juice up my phone on the go. There is a new battery that has blown my mind.

It's called the Airnergy by RCA. The battery charges itself via Wifi signals. It NEVER has to be plugged in to charge. Additionally it doesn't have to "join" a network to charge. As long as there is a WiFi charges. So I can bring it home...leave it in my laptop bag...and it's charging. Walking through the's charging. It's always charging as WiFi signals are everywhere! I can't wait till it comes out. The next step is to take the technology and put it INSIDE the battery currently in the device. This could lead the way to never having to plug in your phone to charge.


Spent the weekend in Abilene, Texas. The hotel was hosting a wedding. All of the rooms are suites which all face into an open atrium. The wedding reception was being held in the atrium. The noise echoed throughout the hotel. I was put in a room off in a corner to try and shield me from the noise. This also shielded me from WiFi. Thankfully Abilene is a 3G city for T-Mobile. I simply tethered my phone to my Macbook Pro (had to use Wireless tethering inside Mac OS X) and I was good to go.

Finally...I realized I have never posted a photo of the inside of the plane I fly. Below is a shot of the cabin. I flew back an empty plane from Abilene yesterday.

[singlepic id=1603 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Total of 70 seats. The plane holds 75 including up to 5 crew members.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I hate Chicago (No offense Jason and Jackie)

Yesterday was a long day. I woke up in my own bed around 5AM as that's when my sugar momma (aka Kelli who thankfully agreed to support a regional First Officer) gets up. I was assigned reserve at home from 10AM until 2AM. At 9:59AM my phone rang. Three day trip assigned.

It wasn't horrible. It started and ended with deadheads. The first to Chicago and the last from Arkansas. Chicago had run out of First Officers. I was being sent to cover a trip. I've become quite comfy with Dallas and don't care to fly out of other bases. Eh.

The first deadhead flight on American was delayed.  I was really hoping I would mis-connect to the flight to Atlanta I was assigned. Since I wasn't based in Chicago the airline has to pay for a hotel. It wasn't too be. Every flight was delayed. I made it in an hour late. The flight to Atlanta was delayed by 90 minutes. I grabbed dinner. I wasn't hungry, but I knew that the delays would mount so I grabbed food for later.

The flight was supposed to leave at 4:15PM. We blocked out for the first time at 5:55PM. Full load of 70 passengers plus a jump seater. After waiting a bit we were in the process of being de-iced when a caution light came on. Time 6:15PM. The APU door wouldn't close. Deicing stopped. Mechanics called. By the time they arrived we tried opening and closing the door a few times and got it to close. Of course by this time we were reattached to the jet bridge. A few minutes later we blocked out again and once again waited to deice. We were finally deiced again at 7:10PM. The passengers had been on board for almost two hours. The flight was blocked for 90 minutes. Flight attendants were running low on water/snacks/booze. Because we had deiced, catering was not allowed to open the service door. They would have to make do.

At 7:48PM I advanced the thrust levers and focused my eyes on the bright lights shining up from the center line of the runway. Visibility was down due to blowing snow. We didn't clear the snow/clouds until more than 10,000 feet AGL.

Atlanta also had snow and wind. The Captain had never deiced in Atlanta. I have only flown to Atlanta once before.

Just about every airport I go to deices planes differently. Some deice at the gate. Others on the ramp. Others on a taxiway and others at the runway. All different.

We blocked in and recorded 3 hours of time. Wow. Being so late (more than 2 hours late) most of the passengers who were to fly back to Chicago were gone. Only 11 stuck around. The entire crew was tired. The Captain went in to get Burger King for himself and the Flight Attendants. I had Salmon Panini's (they sounded good 4 hours ago!) and a cranberry muffin. Burger King had long since closed. We blocked out 25 minutes after blocking in. Atlanta is a Hub for Delta. Ton's of Delta planes around who know the deicing system. Then there was us.  It took us a bit to figure out where we were headed to deice. The airport reported light snow although none was visible out the window.

We eventually found the deice line. The ground controller instructed each plane to follow the "follow me" truck to a deicing location. It was kinda of funny to readback, "Flight 9021 roger left on Echo, right on DIXIE (They don't use the normal D word being Delta...because Delta is based here and that would be confusing) then follow the follow me truck." Eh. Just had to be there. "Follow the Follow Me truck."

To our surprise the "Follow Me" truck was an airport operations Ford Explorer with strobe lights all over it. There was no "Follow Me" anywhere on it. Scam.

Once we were de-iced a new weather report came out. No snow. Nice.

The Captain tried to fly fast back to Chicago but 180 knot headwinds thought otherwise. I munched on my long since cold Panini's. They were actually quite tasty.

Whenever we are delayed I joke that we strive for "same day service". Well last night we didn't even make that. We pulled into the gate a few minutes after midnight. I had been awake for 19 hours. I had been on duty for 14 hours 15 minutes. Scary thing is I was "legal" to fly until 2 AM. No way I could have.

Thankfully scheduling already set up a hotel for me. The rest of the crew is based here. All commuters. Since they are based here they have to pay for their own hotel. Part of "the lifestyle". I printed out my hotel voucher for the Holiday Inn Select and made my way through and empty airport to the hotel van.

Today I have one deadhead to Cleveland. I fly the same plane back to Chicago then deadhead to Dallas afterwards. I should land in Dallas at 10PM. I am betteing I will be delayed though. Wouldn't mind another night. Nice hotel. Comfy bed. Great gym.

I learned long ago to always travel with food. Reason being the nice hotels I stay in (like right now) have high priced restaurants. I have ZERO desire to trudge through snow to find food. Thus I have the following food pyramid to pick from.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Moms gone crazy....I now know why

Right now I am sitting in seat 11A on my way to Chicago to fly to Atlanta then back to Chicago.

In front of me is a crazy lady.  I know she is crazy because I listened to her go from happy, to violently crying, to happy, to steaming mad to mellow....all in about 8 minutes. She was on her cell phone from the time she boarded until right before we took off. When the flight attendant asked her to turn off her phone she began audibly crying and telling the flight attendant how her kid is sick, her husband is an ass and that she is getting old and looks horrible.

The lady next to me and I have had great fun listening and watching this lady go crazy. Right after takeoff the crazy lady waltzed up to the front restroom where she remained for 20 minutes. When she came out, apparently someone in First Class had an issue with how long she was in there. The crazy lady then began scolding the First Class passenger for several minutes before coming back to her seat.

The crazy lady then began telling me, the lady next to me and the flight attendant about how she is allergic to everything. She then proceeded to name several of her allergies. After that she told us that she is getting old, looks horrible, she hates her hair and oh yeah her husband is an ass.

Watching this lady I have come to the assumption that pregnancy makes women crazy.  Women are normal until they have kids. We've all seen women go nuts in the middle of a store. Never men.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fat Free Gone Wrong!

Microsoft has a lot of unadvertised tools that make life better. To know about such tools one has too be a geek or in tune with the geek circle. One tool I love is Live Mesh.

I have been using Live Mesh for a while. Live Mesh allows folders to be synchronized across various computers. I used this to share photos with my mother in law. Rather than email a huge folder, I simply shared my Live Mesh folder with her. Easy. She can also copy photos into the folder.

Another tool of Live Mesh is Remote Desktop. When I built a new computer for my dad I installed Live Mesh and set it up so I could easily connect in without him having to do anything. I have connected in a few times to help him with problems. Last night I connected in and installed the latest Office 2010 (Twenty Ten not Two Thousand Ten!) beta. It's free and installs very quickly thanks to Microsoft Click to Run technology. Awesome.

I bought fat free coffee creamer this week. Mistake. Gross. Bad. Ick. Making my lovely hot bean juice (AKA coffee) taste bad. Darren is not happy.

Forgot to mention we had lunch with Eric, Angela and Marin last weekend. We ate at Buca di Beppo. Thanks again for lunch y'all.

Finally. Apparently the new Apple Macbook has a new warming. That's my assumption as each time Kelli whips open her Macbook...the dogs crowd around it. They never come near my Macbook Pro....hmmmm must be that Macbook Pro models are just too cool. Get Ha!

New Years Resolution

Every year people make these New Year's Resolutions. Lose weight. Stop smoking. Vote Republican. Exercise more. Work less. Eat more fish. Eat fewer Hot Pockets. Whatever.

This year my resolution is to eat less frozen food. I swear Kelli has secret money invested in Lean Pockets. Kelli eats Lean Pockets, Oatmeal and Ice Cream. That's about it. I have more variety....but still lean heavily on frozen food. Gotta reduce the amount of frozen food.

With the new year the proper and environmentally friendly way too see the new year is "Twenty Ten" and not "Two Thousand Eleven". Reason being "Twenty Ten" is fewer syllables. By saying "Twenty Ten" phone calls are shorter which saves battery life and thus the environment. See Kelli I care.

I cleaned yesterday.

Kelli's dogs (Doogie and Vegas....not Lilo) are pissing all around the living room. Annoying.

Apparently the Mazda5 is the cheapest car in the world to insure. When I run quotes on a replacement vehicle....they are all higher! I quoted a Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, and a Ford Mustang. All higher...minimum $100 higher per year. Boo. Who knows....maybe I will just keep it and finance the balance over 2 years. The payoff March 2011 (that's Twenty Eleven!) is $12K. Not bad for a 3 year old car with just 19K miles.

I want new security cameras. Not new...more. I would like a camera to watch the backyard. Gotta get to work on that.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Nexus One

The next phone "to have" comes out tomorrow. Google is expected to release the Nexus One. The next "IPhone" killer. Every new phone is supposed to be an IPhone killer.

The Nexus One is slimmer than an IPhone....much nicer screen.....faster CPU......and the best part's not an IPhone. It runs the same Operating System that Kelli and I run on our phones. The bad part is....expected $530 price tag. No thanks. I'll wait.

My Macbook Pro is almost two years old. Birthday coming up. The big 33...same forwards are backwards.

I love Dunkin Donuts coffee. Our weekly grocery bill will now be $5 higher as Dunkin Donuts coffee cost $5 more than the crap inexpensive coffee I used too buy. Kelli bought me a pound of it for Christmas. It's amazing. Much more robust and flavorful than Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts coffee actually cost MORE than Starbucks. Yum.

There is nothing on TV lately. Kelli and I are playing  a lot of Scrabble on XBOX 360. I'm getting better....which angers Kelli.

I've been listening to Audio books lately. Not the books on tape for yore...but books narrated by famous actors or the author themselves. First was More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman (the Windows guy on the Apple commercials). I listened to the book as a download from . Very high quality audio that plays on a number of devices.

Less than 3 weeks until our first vacation of the year. Kelli and I FLEW 42110 miles together last year. This doesn't include the trips we took solo (Kelli went to NY and CA by herself and I went to Michigan, Vegas, NY, DC and Houston by myself). Of those 42110 miles only 12000 were flown to Tokyo and back. We flew a lot. This a feeling the total miles will be much less. I sometimes wonder how many miles  I fly a year period. Then my head starts to hurt.