No first class for me yesterday. The Delta flight was on a Song plane, though. Bright colors in the interior, well designed informative icons, little screens for each passenger, and hip music [I use this very loosely and only in comparison with the music played on Delta planes] during boarding.
The little screens pick up 20 live DirecTV stations, but reception was sometimes spotty. Oh, but the video was normal aspect ratio while the screens were widescreen and the video was just being stretched to fit instead of using black bars on the sides… soo everything looked wide / fat / stretched / annoying. I think a cool idea if the bugs can be worked out.
There was also a little jukebox system you could access from the touch screen as well. Not much more music selection than usually playing on the plane radio stations, but I could pick which songs to listen to and pause and SKIP and all. I did skip by the way. Some random song I tried that just didn’t pan out. The volume buttons looked nice and new and the headphone jack was normal, so no two prong affair was needed, and the whole thing sounded much less static-y than the normal old airplane sound things.
Among the music choices: the full album True Love Waits: Christopher O’Riley Plays Radiohead, as well as the full Bright Eyes album I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. The intro to At the Bottom of Everything was removed, so while the lyrics “And then they splashed into the deep blue sea / Oh it was a wonderful splash” were still present, it isn’t clear that a plane is actually doing the crashing and splashing.
If anyone flies Delta, check out their new safety video. The passenger in the video demonstrating how to remove iPod headphones when the use of electronic devices is not permitted looks just like me. Well maybe nothing like me, except he is a twenty-something male with my hair. I think this will throw off a lot of people who are genuinely trying to learn from the video because having to flip up the matted mass of hair in order to access the ear adds a whole new complication to headphone removal that most people simply do not need to worry about.
Last night I went to a wedding. One of my mom’s friend’s son. Never knew him that well but saw him a lot over the years. The reception was at the Birmingham Country Club, so yeah, very nice but very traditional. Incidentally, the bride was my old friend Barret’s little sister so I got to see him again. That was nice. He is in school in L.A. now. Also my suspicions that Mountain Brook is in actuality a giant clique were confirmed: it seemed like every random Mountain Brook person I’ve ever known was there. Ok not really but still. I talked to Rainer and Andrew for a while, seeing them was a pleasant surprise. I also saw Mrs. Anderson but I didn’t speak to her because I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t remember me, especially with the longer hair and glasses. She is the very nice but very eccentric rich lady that some friends and I used to do landscaping for. Ahh the fun of the Anderson summers… excuse me while I reminisce of times gone by.
Yesterday was a Good Day. That was doubleplusgood, because I haven’t had one in a while. I really needed it.
I flew to San Jose, but I was late getting the ticket, so I had to take what I could get – no choice of time or stopovers. I booked with Delta, but for some reason I ended up on a tiny Continental Airlines plane out of Birmingham. The lady sitting next to me was old. She smelled like mothballs and her elbow poked over the armrest. I landed in Houston, a detail I didn’t really pay attention to until announced by the flight attendant. I was kind of out of it when I purchased the ticket, as well as when I boarded the plane.
I’ve been through the smaller Houston airport that Southwest uses, but this was my first time through HBI. Since our plane was small, after landing it taxied to this airplane parking lot off away from the terminal. A bus drove out and parked with its door opposite that of the plane. The bus took us to the little plane terminal, which I had to wind my way through to get the main terminal, or so I thought. Really that just brought me to another bus gate, where I boarded a bus that backtracked through the airplane parking lot en route to the main terminal.
Out of Houston I was actually on a Delta plane, so I had to get Delta boarding passes from the gate in Houston. I was again out of it, and only realized when boarding started that I was in group 1! Unfortunately, I had to fill my water bottle from the water fountain before boarding, so when I made it back to the gate, group 2 had already started boarding… I will just have to be the first on board some other time. It actually ended up being better than I thought, because as I was looking at the ticket as I was at the water fountain, I figured out that the reason I was in group 1 was because I was in First Class! Hurrah for the upgrade! Since I came on with group 2, people had to stop behind me while I put my bag into the overhead compartment and the middle aged guy behind me was a little bitter I think. He said something along the lines of “Like Napoleon Dynamite says, you got lucky.” I’m not sure. The words didn’t make much sense to me, but his tone I understood quite well. I guess I should watch the movie again.
From Houston I flew to Salt Lake City. The clouds were beautiful and I liked the Salt Lake City airport a lot because it was surrounded by mountains, some of them snow-capped. That was good because I was stuck there for 3 hours, after which I finally flew out to San Jose. I’ve driven through Salt Lake City twice and I just never remember the mountains being so big. Huh. Leaving Salt Lake City I was once again in First Class. My first time, and twice in one day! Wow.
The flight attendants sure ask if you want anything a lot. I guess I can get used to it, but it was annoying at first. ( More Everything! Though I was flabbergasted find that there were no flowers in the bathroom. No gardenias? :) ) I really liked the real sized cups of coffee they gave me. Not only were the cups normal in stature, but they were formed from the cool styrofoamish-paper material that isn’t too thick, doesn’t need a sleeve, and still doesn’t burn the hand. Of course, my favorite part is the super fat arm rest between the seats. It came in handy when I sat next to the super fat guy who would have been spilling over into my seat were I in coach. I’m not sure why, but I love having both elbows on an armrest to prop up my arms which in turn prop up a book while I read. I also enjoyed the leg room galore. No more cramping muscles. Good stuff. As I relaxed in my plush, over-sized, roomy seat, I was embarrassed to find myself spontaneously smiling from time to time. I tried to stop, but that never works as my face just ends up with a contorted half-smile. I don’t think I was smiling because First Class was that great, I think it was just because I knew what I was missing – my cramped seat in coach. To sum up, while I was unsure before, I can now say with absolute certainty that First Class is amazing. So for anyone else out there who is still sitting on the fence, now you know. :)
Highlights from last weekend: Friday night was the Pinback show that cool eyeglass shop girl said was a must see; Saturday afternoon I almost stepped on a snake while running; Saturday night I dressed up, ate at Hot & Hot, then rode in the back of Brett’s truck; I guess that was it.
While traveling, I banged my right elbow many times on my bag and other various objects that found themselves in the way of the elbow. This morning the half healed scar hurts and my right hand is going half numb again. Yeesh. I should really learn to ride a bike better.
Who has seen the new iPod commercial? Sort of red or warm and maybe a little more psychedelic than commercials past. I would just like to point out to everyone the style of dance. Thats right, rhythm sort of means nothing. Definitely moving like a jellyfish. As is proved in other places, if its on TV, then it must be cool, therefore dancing like that is cool. I rest my case.
Yesterday, I planned to write, but I was too tired. It all started this weekend. Well, on Friday, really. Some people consider Friday to be part of the weekend. I needed to finish some work then, but I didn’t. So I planned to finish on Saturday, but I went all Forrest Gump and couldn’t stop running, so work fell in between the cracks. The work had to be done by Monday morning, so I passed the torch on to Sunday. All day I intended to get started in an hour but other stuff repeatedly appeared. Finally, I started on the work around midnight.
2nd ave. & 21st st. I finished at 4AM so that is when I went to sleep. I had an appointment downtown the next morning, so the alarm clock (aka my cell phone) went off at 6AM. So that is the story of how I slept 2 hours. I added 10 hours to my lifetime cumulative total last night, so today I feel less tired. After several cups of coffee and an hour of reading (Which, by the way, is a good task to wake up with. It is important to avoid making decisions or writing or any other actions which either have lasting consequences or document the present mental capacity of the brain.) I made the drive downtown. I tried to split the rush hour and be on the road around 8AM, missing both the in the office by 8AM crowd, as well as the 9AM arrivers. I think I was largely successful. The Rocky Ridge / Green Valley intersection was bad, but is it ever good? Otherwise, smooth sailing. I stopped by Brett’s place and worked for a while, then we headed over to the City Federal building at 10AM. It is 27 stories, and very skinny with a steel frame, and originally built in 1913. The front 2 sides are covered in very pretty terra cotta, but the back 2 sides are boring brick. The lady showing us the building was very nice. We had to wear hard hats, which was exciting. The construction company has recently finished the asbestos removal process, I am hoping they were thorough. The lobby still has the enormous bank vault in it. Brett walked inside the vault to look, but unfortunately the big round door was sort of rusted open. The other floors had been completely stripped, so that the entire floor was open, dotted by structural columns. Only one of the elevators is still safe, and I am unsure how unequivocally the term may be applied to even that elevator. It had physical push buttons that remained recessed instead of lighting up. It lacked a roof, so I watched the inside of the elevator shaft as we travelled. When going up, it would only stop at floor 23, so we had to go all the way up there, and then go down to whatever particular floor we really meant. I think the 25th floor is the highest. Why is it that the number of stories never matches with the value of the highest floor? I’m sure there is an easy answer.
Quarter The view from 23 was spectacular: Vulcan, Red Mountain, and the Heaviest Corner to the south; Sloss Furnance and First Presbyterian to the east; the financial district to the north. City Federal could be said to face east. The west wall is covered with the elevators and stairs so there are few windows in this direction. We stopped at the 16th floor, which on the interior looked mostly identical to 23. The view from here was fabulous as well. Finally, we stopped down on the 9th floor. Here it felt like one was below the buildings in the financial district as well as the buildings to the south, so the view was not nearly as cool. After leaving City Federal, Brett and I stopped by Bob’s Bikes and Birmingham Bicycle Company. I am at the sort of vague idea stage of buying a bicycle. Looking around, seeing what is out there, trying to get a more specific idea. I think this stage is the bane of salespeople everywhere. They first ask if I am looking to buy a bicycle, to which I have to reply, “yes”. Then they ask what I am looking for, to which I can only reply, “I don’t know”. This usually incites the recitation of a litany of sales and specials, which of course means nothing to me because if I don’t even know what I want, then why do I care if something is on sale? Is that really supposed to change my mind? As far as the formation of a specific idea goes, while I was previously leaning toward a full on road bike, I think Brett has now convinced me to go with a cyclocross bike, so that I can ride the slop if need be. (His father was a mudder. His mother was a mudder. What did I just say? He was born to slop.) This is somewhat unfortunate, as from all initial observations, no shops in Birmingham actually sell cyclocross bikes. I do, however, feel that it is important to plan for all contingencies, and should I ever live somewhere with snow I want my bike to be able to handle snow tires. Since we went to Birmingham Bicycle Company, we of course also had to drop in Urban Outpost. I’m not sure why I have never shopped there more often. Probably because it is in the middle of a neighborhood, making it difficult to stumble across, but I feel that I have failed myself to have not looked it up sooner. I now distinguish it as Birmingham’s coolest and best outdoor gear shop. The shop is small but filled efficiently with a broad inventory that isn’t watered down with “casual” apparel that could be purchased anywhere. It has enough outdoorsey decoration to establish a credible ambiance and best of all, the employees actually seem to be very intelligent and knowledgeable. I just like people that know what the heck they are talking about. It has been said before, but if the people parking in front of 5bucks are any indication of general state of Birmingham’s population, then people in this city are terrible parallel parkers. Please, if there is only space for a single car, do not try to go in head first. It is not going to work. No amount of cyclically pulling forward followed by reversing will get the car close to the curb. Speaking of which, if the first 5 cycles failed to narrow the gap between the tires and the curb, do you really think 5 more cycles will help matters? Lastly, if backing into a space, be careful to avoid jumping the curb. I know it is probably very exciting to be parallel parking and actually not have your car sticking out in traffic, but refrain from over-doing it. Particularly if there are many people sitting at tables on the sidewalk and you come within inches of hitting them. Finally, if you do even come close to nailing innocent pedestrians, bystanders, or dogs, please apologize. It is really the only nice thing to do. :) Apparently, CNN now features a “Paste Picks” segment, on which a Paste Magazine editor highlights new, mostly independent music. I know Athens is geographically close to Atlanta, but is Paste ideologically even remotely proximate to CNN? I doubt it, but maybe the spot is good for them nonetheless?
Does anyone else ever wonder how accurate these quotations web site are? Who keeps them in check? How do we know that they aren’t just making this stuff up? At any rate, and by any author, I do like the above statement.
“In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.”
- Mark Twain