Valentine’s Week 2007 = SHIT.

March 1, 2007

Alright, so I mentioned that I had sent a few “Rant”-ee kind of emails to my friends, which started the peer pressure to get this blog going. So, I figure that posting them would be a good place to start (and a good way to hide my lack of Creativity at the moment).

In this weeks installment…

1. TRAPPED AT THE HILTON
2. 5A
3. T MINUS 10….
4. DANGEROUS HAIR GEL
5. AIRPORT SHEEP
6. TERRORISM 101
7. CARRY ON ETIQUETTE
8. PASSENGER ETIQUETTE
9. WHO ACTUALLY CONTROLS THE PLANE?!
10. HOME SWEET HOME

1. TRAPPED AT THE HILTON

Ahhh Valentine’s day. Who gives a rats ass.. I mean really. I was particularly bitter this year because the theme for me was “Trapped at the Hilton”. I should be fair and say that the hotel is no longer a Hilton. It’s now privately (synonymous with SHITTY it seems) owned and is now called “The Valley Forge Inn”. Anyway, I woke up in the morning stumbled into the bathroom to have a shower. Turn on the taps… excellent, no hot water. last week the room I was in had no heat. Try to look on the bright side though so I tell myself “Well, at least I’ll be awake”. Get dressed, head outside and on about my second step almost broke my back in a near bail. Fortunately I didn’t fall, but I put on one of those awesome break dancing shows for the people sitting in their nice warm jeep. Jerks. Thankfully the hill that I had to walk up to get to my car was only about 50 meters long… so it only took me about 10 minutes to get there. Get to my car only to notice that overnight it had had a makeover. It was now covered in an inch of ice aaaaaaaaaaaaall the way around it. In fact, it was so perfect that it looks an awful lot like a translucent car cover. No problem, I’m from Canada, nothing a little work with a scraper can’t fix. One flaw with that plan… you need a rental car agency smart enough to give you a snow brush with a fucking scraper to pull it off. Last time I had a car it had a scraper with no snow brush, this time a snow brush with no scraper. Awesome. You’d think for 60$ a day they could give you a fucking 2$ snow scraper AND brush combo. To top it off? The fucking brush was buried at the back of the trunk, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal except that the trunk hydraulics were BROKEN so I had to basically crawl into the trunk to get the brush, dangling my feet out the end like one of those stupid fucking Garfield toys that were popular a hundred years ago. 30 minutes later with the heat on high and using the butt end of the brush I managed to break away the ice. So! Let’s go to work!

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Get in the car, put it in reverse… start spinning. Put in drive, put it in reverse, put it in drive, put it in reverse…. For 5 minutes, slowly rocking my way out of my space. Finally on my way.

The concept of snow plows and salting in the US is something that is talked a lot about, but not really done in practice. I have to go down a hill about a 100 meters long to leave the hotel. At the end of the hill is a road with 4 lanes of traffic (6 if you count the turning lanes). How busy is this road? Well, I turn left… but were I to turn right, within about 200 ft it would become highway 202. So I am basically rolling down the hill since it’s slippery out, no need for gas right? No point in breaking either it seems. I tried everything from pumping the breaks, to slamming them to closing my eyes and praying to God. Slid RIGHT THROUGH the intersection. Fortunately the light turned green just before I entered it so no one else was passing through (or suffering from non-functioning breaks). A little less rocking and I might be gone right now. So I am slowly crawling along … on my way to work. It’s slippery, but manageable. Half way to work I reach the mountain. At the top of this mountain is work. What’s the road like? Well… think of a mountain race track… for about 3 miles I have to go straight up on an incline of I would guess measuring between 50 – 60 degrees. It curves left and right every 50 yards or so though so if you don’t slip back, you have a good chance of slipping off. I took one look at the hill and said “Fuck this.” … turned around and went back to the hotel. Fortunately in only took me 15 minutes to get back up the hill into the hotel parking lot. I worked from the hotel for the rest of the day surviving on Chocolate bars and Candy. You think that’s bad? Wait until Thursday.

2. 5A

What a glorious day. My Thursdays generally start with checking in for my flight. I get to the office (roads were fine) get online and try to check in. Error. Hmm… try again… Error. Call Us Airways tech support and get someone who sounds just absolutely THRILLED to be at work. I mean, monotone? This woman sounded like she would rather be at the dentist getting a root canal. I explained the situation, she put me on hold. Ten minutes later she comes back and says “It’s because the flight is international. Sometimes it doesn’t work.” … in the mean time I have been refreshing the seat selector, and seats have been steadily (read: quickly) disappearing. I pointed out that the seats were being booked by others and that since it was 10am, they must have been checking in online. She had no answer. She did assure me that I would be on the flight sooo… I hung up. All day I tried to reserve a seat, with each attempt watching my options diminish. Around 4:00 I managed to get a seat… and I can’t complain since I got the last window 12A. It still kinda sucked because I was trying to get 5A for the quick escape after landing.

3. T MINUS 10….

Leave for the airport and hit just awesome traffic. A 30 minute drive took me an hour and a quarter. At this stage my plane boards in 20 minutes so I figure I have to run if I am going to make it. Get to budget to drop the car off… where is the shuttle bus? Every 7 minutes. 15 minutes later (I now have 5 mins until boarding stars – 30 until take off… or so I think). The bus route from the rental car place to the terminals is awesome. It basically goes to NY (or so it seems) before it gets to the terminal. 15 minutes until take off.

4. DANGEROUS HAIR GEL

Ah security. Those of you who know my travel stories know how much fun I have with security. Fucking gels. Every week I go through with the same thing. This week, 5 minutes before my flight takes off they stop me.

Moron (security) : Is this yours sir

(I’m the only one going through security at the moment.)

Andrew: yes.

Moron : This container is too big.

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Andrew: Ok. (he’s looking at me like I have a Honey I Shrunk the Kids machine and can remedy the situation)

Moron : You’ll have to go back and check it with your bags.

Andrew: I don’t have any bags to check. Can I check just the container of gel?

(one of these days I am going to do it just to show them how stupid it is… imagine just the little container of gel coming down the shoot… or better yet, filing in a lost luggage form for it when it doesn’t turn up at the other end 🙂 )

Moron : (puzzled look)

Andrew: I have to catch my flight. Keep it.

Moron : Hold on a second sir.

Moron goes over to talk to head Moron.

Head Moron: Umm… this can’t go.

Andrew: I’ve already said you could keep it.

Head Moron: Do you want to check it?

Andrew: Are you kidding. I just told her I have a flight to catch. You do know that this is an airport right? That people might be in a rush?

Head Moron: Sir. I’m just saying that you can’t bring it through.

Andrew: I don’t give a shit what you have to say. The last three weeks your “security” let the same bag, with the same items, including the DANGEROUS GEL, through no questions. I would love to hear you explain that but I have a flight to catch. If I miss it, I’ll come back and you can explain it to me then.

Head Moron: Maybe I should detain you.

Andrew: (walks away – maybe saying something about licking my ass donkey :). The fat ass security guard who couldn’t cahse down a turtle didn’t bother following me).

5. AIRPORT SHEEP

Is it just me or are people more lost in an airport than they are in a grocery store? You know. those people that travel once a year and wander around like morons? I call them Airport Sheep. Their entire life is so routine that you could remove all their senses and they would probably still be able to operate as if nothing had happened. But drop them in an airport where you might have to match two numbers on your ticket to two number of a sign and they’re fucking lost. “SO MANY NUMBERS! WHICH ONE DO I USE! GATES A,B,C,D,E,F .. 22, 24, 30 – I DON’T UNDERSTAND!” … morons. I mean, personally, I think these people are proving Darwin to be wrong. No one this dumb should be able to survive this long under his theory. Add to this the fact that people think that when you get to an airport everything is on the ceiling. I swear to God, it’s like people are looking for their plane!

… so I get to my gate. There are roughly a million people there… a few of them familiar faces since they seem to do the same trek home that I do every week. I don’t actually talk to these people, but I wish I did. One of them was in my seat – 5A!

6. TERRORISM 101

Well the plane is there but no one is getting on. People start making a fuss … so much so that SECURITY had to come to our gate. Why can’t we get on the plane you ask? Since it is there an all? Well… there is no crew. You think I mean stewards right? Well yes… but the pilots are also MIA. How did the plane get there if there are no pilots? In the midst of my pondering this anomaly, I hear my name called. I head over to the podium (expecting to be told that I am not on the flight anymore since there are a million people there) and I get a new ticket… oh goody now I am in 24A. There are 25 rows. Remember when I was supposed to get 5A? I guess I shouldn’t complain. Philly airport cancelled 50% of it’s flights on Wednesday so there were a lot of people who were there just praying to get a ride somewhere else.Airport Sheep

The ticketing team decides that to expedite the process they would check passports while they were waiting for a crew, so that when the crew did show up we could all just board without checking the ID. This sounds safe. I show you my passport and my ticket… you mark my ticket. Now, I go give my ticket to a nutt job. He gets on the plane as me and we’re all dead. Well, I’m not dead since he has my ticket, but with my luck between the time I give him my ticket and boarding, they’d put me in 5A. But my hair gel. Yeah, that was a security risk. I love the stupidity of airport security… total posturing when in point of fact since the people that work there couldn’t muster a single IQ point between them. They wouldn’t spot a malicious travelers if they wore T-Shirts that said “I’m a terrorist – STOP ME”. I’d be surprised if half the airport staff could fucking read. In fact, I would guess that’s how my hair gel escaped the security sting operation the previous two weeks.

7.. CARRY ON ETIQUETTE

Finally find a crew, and we board the plane. I get to my seat… awesome the overhead bin is full. Why? Because someone put their suitcase in sideways. THAT’S NOT CARRY ON FUCK DICK. I can fit my 40 inch suitcase in sideways. That doesn’t make it carry on. So I have to walk back down the aisle, against traffic to shove my suit case over some other seat. Some lady yelled at me because she wanted to put her jacket up where I put my case… I have lost all patience with people at this point so I looked at her and said “Maybe you should have checked it.”. Stomped back to my seat. 24C is occupied. Frenchie ,trying to get back to Montreal … says to me.

Frenchie: “Ou did nawt ave tue be so rewd.”

Andrew: “I’m in 12A, excuse me.”

8. PASSENGER ETIQUETTE

Frenchie doesn’t get up… she justs twists sideways like that is going to give me enough room to get in. Heaven forbid she should have to get up. Retard. I’m decided people like that need to be taught lessons. So I step in with one leg, and pretend to trip giving her a AWESOME charlie horse. It was perfect. She yelped… I turned to her and said “Guess you should have gotten up”. She said nothing. I know this seems harsh but the older I get to more I believe that people with this limited intelligence can only understand to most basic teachings. We need to train (not educate, TRAIN) these idiots the same was we would a animal. Say wha you will now, but next time she’ll get up – and it might be for you.
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So we’re all on board, good to go… when this stupid old fuck three rows in front of us stands up to get something out of his bag. The flight attendant gets on the intercom and says we’re good to go, but everyone has to be sitting down. Unphased, this guy continues to fuss. I can’t believe no one is saying anything so I yelled out “Hey fuck dick, I think we’re all late enough. Why don’t you sit the fuck down and hold on to your sweater before I kick you in the neck.” A few people laughed, a few clapped… the idiot sat down. So we’re getting ready for take off. Hmm… planes not moving.

9. WHO ACTUALLY CONTROLS THE PLANE?!

Captain comes on the intercom. The computer in the tower that tells them what the settings for flaps, engines, etc have to be for take off isn’t working. Hmm, shouldn’t a pilot know these things? Why does the computer have to tell him how to fly?! Oh yeah, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. All little planes can take off since they don’t need help, but the biggies can’t do it without guidance. Awesome. We lost our place in the take off queue twice. So boarded at 9, it’s now 10:30 and we take off.

10. HOME SWEET HOME

Worst flight ever. Between the turbulence and the guy beside me blowing ass every 5 minutes I thought I was going to die. Thank God the flight is only an hour. Get to Pearson and after spending nearly 30 minutes in customs answering the “what was the purpose of your trip” even though I checked the little fucking box that said BUSINESS. Get in a limo – expecting it to get lost – but managed to get home for 1am.

Ain’t travel glamorous?

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And so it begins…

February 28, 2007

I swore that I would never participate in this whole “blogging” thing. I always told myself that as a software engineer I spent enough time on computers doing USEFUL things, that somehow I was above all this “blogging” nonsense. So what am I doing here you ask? Well, quite simply put – peer pressure.

I have spent the better part of the last 6 months of my life traveling for work and over the course of these adventures have had many interesting experiences (as most people who travel do). Every now and then the cumulation of these events would “get to me” and I would send an insane rant via email to friends back home. Little did I know, the trials and tribulations of being me had people rolling on the floor laughing, frantically forwarding my messages to people that I had never met.

In one of my last messages I ended it joking that perhaps I should get a blog. Well folks – here it is 🙂

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WARNING: I cuss like a sailor. If you are offended by profanity, you would be wise not to read any entries after this one.
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