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Monday, October 7, 2013

Oh the Joys of Flying Commercial!!!

What would a trip be without first being threatened with getting thrown off the plane? Pretty typical, I guess. I've just about HAD IT with these angry, old, bitter flight attendants and their attitudes. You would never know we actually PAID for our seats. I feel sometimes, more like a holocaust victim being loaded onto the cattle train to be shipped off to Auschwitz then I do a paying customer who paid an upgrade for extra leg room. (too much?)

So...I get to GPT a FULL hour early. I started out the trip by making the flight on time. An improvement over my last trip OUT of GPT...the worst, slowest airport on the planet. Got through TSA and their three-times-more-than-humanly-necessary screening process with no issues. Hmmm...two for two so far, hard part out of the way, I think. Board the flight. And oh boy...there she is. Oh we need a picture for this one, don't we? Bear with me. Yeah okay...here's the witch.




Let's discuss carry-on luggage. There are LARGE carry-ons, that WILL fit on most airplanes. However, there are times when, due to a large number of passengers, they will frequently order you to check it with the plane side valet, then give it to you once the plane lands. In my carry-on, I usually pack my laptop and a bunch of other things I need to have for my trips. The main reason I hate checking that bag...is three-fold. (1) I once had them LOSE my bag during that 'simple procedure.' (2) I once had someone take my bag instead of theirs on accident, leading to me missing my connecting flight. And (3) I've been the victim of missing my connecting flight on THREE separate occasions because I was stuck standing there in the jetway waiting on my carry on. So...understandably, or it SHOULD be...I'm very hesitant to use that method.

Then you have SMALL carry-ons. I own one of each of these. The small one is REALLY small...but sometimes, it is suitable. And if I know that I have a small window to make my connection, I don't want to risk it, so I take the little one. This is what occurred on this trip. So the last thing I'd have an issue with, was THAT. I was wrong. Witch Helga here...as soon as she sees my bag, barks at me that I have to check it because it's too big. We (for the record, for you aviation enthusiasts, are on a CRJ-200 Bombadier) are flying on a plane that is MORE than half empty....so storage space is NOT an issue. I look at her, tell her I have a short window to connect in Dallas, and really need to KEEP my bag with me...that my bag fits just fine, and that the plane is half empty or more.




Now she changes her story. Oh! Now it's a matter of weight...that the balance of the airplane is the big factor. You gotta be kidding me. I inform her that my carry-on only weighs 17lbs. (I weighed it when I was checking my baggage, in case I needed to move some stuff into it if I was over 50lbs on the other bag) She then got this evil look on her face...and asked me if I would like to take the next flight? Since I was at the front of the plane, and the cockpit door was open, I turned to my left and asked the pilots if this was really a legitimate case she was making for why I couldn't bring my carry on with me? One of them turned to me, and simply asked me to please check my bag. I wasn't winning against this bitch. Fuck it. I gave it up. And predictably, when we got to Dallas, it took forever to retrieve.

I take my seat. Actually, I don't, someone else is IN my seat. I had paid extra for an emergency exit row seat. More leg room. I told the guys not to worry about it...I didn't want to upset the bitch, and really just wanted to sit down. But him and the guy next to him realized they had sat one row back too far...so insisted they let me have my exit seat. Thanks guys. I moved. Oh...well she saw this and came racing back to see what all the 'shenanigans' were about. They told her they were in my seat. I ignored her. Then she asks to see my ticket. I showed it to her. While glaring at her. She seemed angrier...knowing I would be 'allowed' to fly to Dallas in relative comfort. 

A few moments later...a guy who was jammed into his seat with a large fat guy next to him, tried to move up to one of the (I counted them) 26 empty seats in front of row 10. TWENTY SIX empty seats! She ambushes him. Tells him he has to take his assigned seat! Claims that she will 'ask the captain if he can move after we take off.' He sits back in his seat looking like a 5th grader who'd just been sent to the principal's office. My whole section of the plane was now cracking jokes about her...calling her 'The Dictator' and other nice things.

She comes back to address us passengers in the exit rows....demanding we give her a verbal answer to each question. You know the drill. If the plane goes down in a fireball, will you stay here and be willing to open the exit door. Will you assist your fellow passengers who are missing body parts get off the plane? Will you take those who are on fire and roll them down the escape slide in hopes that their burning body stops, drops and rolls effectively? To each question I stared straight ahead and served up a very monotone, "YES." That pissed her off. I think waking up in the morning has to piss this lady off. "Fucking sun! Again!??? Arghhhh!!!!"

We get in the air. She comes back and tells the guy the captain declined his desire to move to a seat where he would actually be comfortable. More mumbo jumbo about the weight balancing of the plane. You'd have thought we were flying in a hang glider!

She gets on the microphone to start another one of her stupid in-flight speeches, this time about her fabulous beverage service that we have to look forward to. Then it hit me. Oh My God! This old hag is a frustrated wanna-be news caster. It was all she ever wanted to be in life...was an on-air newscaster. But her ugly, rotten apple face prevented any program manager from every scaring the American public and causing him/her to lose their own job when ratings fell through the floor. Every accent, every final word of each sentence, the proper inflexion of heightened pitch to her voice on the appropriate words. Oh...this was like Broadcast Journalism 101 class all over again! I was cringing every time she got on that damn thing. Lady! Please...no one is going to discover you working on this flight...or any other. Just talk into the mic like the miserable human you are, who hates her job. Oh, she thought it would be so awesome, and glamorous when she joined up with the airlines. She didn't care that the pay sucked...the travel, the glamour, the famous people she would meet...it would all be worth it...just watch!!!! AND...AND!!! She'd be discovered!!!

Ha! I lived with an apartment building FULL of American flight attendants when I first moved to NYC back in 1989. I had three as roommates. It was hilarious listening to these people every day. What they THOUGHT they were getting into, and what they ACTUALLY were getting into. They were some of the unhappiest people I've ever experienced. Always bitching. 

Here comes the beverage cart. I knew when she arrived in my neighborhood, I'd be the last one she waited on. That's fine. Didn't really care. My turn! I request a LARGE cup FULL of ice (they never give you enough, and the soda is always warm, so the ice always melts before you've finished- I recommend always asking for a FULL CUP of ICE!) and a full UNOPENED can of Coke. This is how you guarantee getting a whole can. Hey! I paid $450 for this ticket...I feel I'm within my rights as a paying customer to get a full can of coke instead of a half empty can of coke. Well, bitch from hell informs me she doesn't 'have anymore full cans of Coke, only two half empty ones)...which I'm 95% positive was a fucking lie. Coke is the most popular beverage on that cart. And she was only half way through her service...on a HALF EMPTY plane! Who is fooling who here? Fuck it. Since I'm looking at 6 full cans of Sprite, or Sierra Mist (whatever!) I ask instead for a Sprite. Besides, you've all seen the video of how horrible Coke is for you...so whenever I'm moved to choose something else, it's actually a bit of a victory. (WHY SODA IS BAD FOR YOU....click)



"We don't CARRY SPRITE!!!!" Yes, of course, then please give me a Sierra Mist. She got this look on her face like I had just defeated her in 'Battleship'...sinking the last ship in her fleet. Oh she was PISSSSSSED! Ha ha!  I sat back and enjoyed my Sprite (whatevvvvver), one delightful sip at a time...then started thinking to myself, "Hmmm...wonder what the chances are she will have cops waiting for me when we land in Dallas?" I could see it happening. I decided to put some odds on it. 14/86. 14% that I was going down. It didn't happen. I escaped the clutches of injustice.

Ironically, my next leg...from Dallas to Phoenix? Wonderful flight crew. Could not have been nicer. I told them, while waiting on the bathroom, about my previous experience with 'Debbie!' They both agreed that the women working on the American Eagle side of things tended to be a little grumpy. Understatement of the Year right there! I arrive in Phoenix to gorgeous 77 degree with a slight breeze blowing at 4pm. Five of my baseball teammates arrived moments later, and we shuttled it to our hotel. A hotel that is already on my nerves. The internet doesn't work worth a damn...the water faucets both deliver scalding hot water...which is great for brushing your teeth. My A/C didn't work. One of my teammates TV didn't work. They over-charged my credit card...then I had to go Accounting 101 with them to get it resolved. Sigh. But...it could be worse, I guess. (honestly, not sure how)

We had two games yesterday, one at noon, that we won 6-2 and one at 4pm that we won 10-0. All the batting practice I put in last week really paid off. I beat out an infield fielders choice in my first at-bat, with a sharp grounder to short..then hit a long double to left in my next at bat. In my 3rd at bat...I struck out...going after a pretty nice slider this guy threw me on a full count. He broke my bat on the previous pitch, an inside fastball that I fought off. On my fourth and final at bat of the day...again on a full count I hit a line drive to right that the guy managed to make a nice catch on...and I stranded a runner at 3rd. All in all, I felt great with how I swung the bat...the first game at bats I've had in two years, since I was here playing with the same team, and a lot of the same guys. I was really hoping Chad Brown was going to make it out here again...and he still might. He might just come and not play...which would be fine...just hanging out with him would make the trip worth it. My ex-roommate in NYC 20 years ago, Chris Bruno, who is a working actor in Hollywood, also played on our old 'National Network' team when we played in NYC over 20 years ago. He didn't make it here two years ago...and now it looks like he won't make it again. Sucks. Jim Davidson, also an actor, who starred on Pacific Blue a few years back, and lands a lot of other roles in things...and is just a really, really great guy...who when he was here two years ago, was fighting a serious health issue in his neck. Well, he beat it. And is back to the old 'Jimmy D' I always knew and looked up to. He is here..and played great yesterday. Like always. 

We have a great bunch of guys here again. I'm sure we will have a good shot at winning the whole thing. The winning teams get these really nice rings. I mean, they look like World Series rings. I guess that would be pretty cool! We are scheduled to play something between 14-16 games in 7 days! So playing time shouldn't be a problem. My knees....well, I went to see my doctor the day before I left, and he prescribed me a 6-day anti-inflammatory thing...take 3 pills on Day 1...then another 3 that day....2 and 2 the next day (today) then 1 and 1...then its done. My knees the past two days have felt GREAT! And my back isn't even bothering me too much (yet) right now...so maybe I'll get through this week unscathed!

Well, Squirrel and I are no longer undefeated on our rooting interest football side of things. Well, she is I suppose, more of a diehard Saints and Crimson Tide fan then a Seahawks and Husky fan. The Huskies and Seahawks both lost in the final minutes, to take their first loss. I was pretty bummed...but the Dawgs only fell one spot in the Top 20...which means they obviously won a lot of respect. But I'd have sure been a lot happier with the win...propelling us to about 8th probably, heading into a HUGE home game vs. Oregon this week. Seahawks should go to 5-1 at home against Tennessee. 

Has anyone watched the new show on NBC? 'Blacklist?' What do you think of it? Here is my take. It's a combination of the Hannibal Lecture trilogy and Homeland. You have the slightly troubled female agent...who the subject insists on working with...kind of like Hannibal did with Jodi Foster. The Reddington character, played by James Spader is at times entertaining...but I find him to be way smirky, and too much of a smart ass and know it all. I think anyone, in the real world, who carried his kind of personality, wouldn 't last three days in the convert ops world. And for him to have all this information about ALL these terrorists? Never happen. It's impossible. It's almost insulting to the intelligence. And perhaps its because I've read too many Tom Clancy (rest in peace Tom Clancy, he died last week) novels, and Vince Flynn, as well as Stephen Coonts and a few others. It's very amateurish to me and farfetched to really enjoy it. And Spader's character is just not one that I'm going to be able to tolerate for much more than two or three episodes before I have to cut it loose.

I would like to extend my congratulations to two very good friends of mine who became the proud parents of new babies this month. Jennifer Gay and Stephen Pique welcomed their baby boy, Carter to the world...and our webmaster and friend 'Wild Bill' Phillips and his wife Jessica also welcomed a little boy...who wasn't named upon arrival, but I think has taken on the moniker of Landon. I could be wrong...but I think that's right. The huge list of my friends that have been having a baby since Squirrel and I had Carley is astounding...or maybe you just pay attention to those things more once you have one of your own. Joe Cutler, Jason Young, Josh Brikis...whoa...all guys with names starting wtih a 'J'...and then Jenn Gay. Okay now its getting weird. Oh hell's bells...add another one, my Florida roomie, Joe Hebert...who also had a boy after we did. That's five J's. Who did I miss? Oh, I can break the string...my friend Weronika Starr had a baby boy this year too. Baby here, baby there...babies everywhere! And my 'little' Carley is approaching a year and a half...and she is in the top 99% of babies her age for height. She is going to be very tall. I hope not Amazon tall, though. She is getting so funny...she cracks me up every day. Leaving her was SO hard this time. And she is walking all over the house looking for me I'm told. We tried to Facetime yesterday, and she refused to look at me. She's mad at me. Cute I guess. Sort of.  :(

I have played NO POKER in over two weeks. And it feels awesome! I don't know what's going ON in the poker world, and I could care less. Sorry, to those who live, breathe, eat and sleep poker and only care about poker. Then again...most of those who are poker junkies don't read my blog anyway...so big whoop!

This little mess, this uh, character assassination that is uh, well that I touched upon in my last post? That I promised a 'mini-series' breaking it down and explaining 'my side' of the story? Well, I followed up as I mentioned I was going to do...contacting my local field office of the FBI, to see if there was anything I could do to protect myself and my family from this maniac. Never realized just HOW many offices they have. I had the choice of Mobile, New Orleans, or Jackson, MS. Or speak to the office in St Louis. (GO PIRATES...by the way!) 

Then I get out here to Phoenix, and find out one of my teammates, works for the FBI! How ironic is that? Well...it's been expressed to me that I not put the details of what's going on with this person who most of you know...on my blog. For a variety of reasons. Trust me...there is a side to me that REALLY wants to set the record straight, and turn the tables on this asshole. But there is always the argument that karma will catch up to him eventually. Karma or Federal charges...one or the other. I just don't want to defy their advice to release as little information about this as possible. So to those of you expecting to read about all this BS with this jerk...I'm sorry.

I will tell you this. He has a bit of a God Complex. He literally refers to himself in a recent blog of his...that just MIGHT appear on this site that I blog for (that just MIGHT be the third listed blog down on the left hand side) ...wherein he declares himself  "Like a God, I am the Grand Architect of it All, The Final Word!" When I think of this person...there is only really one word that consistently comes to mind.  R-E-P-U-G-N-A-N-T.




Okay...it is now 9:30am. We are leaving for our game at 11:30. And I want to get loose by swimming some laps in the pool that is right outside my room. Nice chatting with ya!

MONKEY

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