Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Final Travel Jotts

- The seats on my plane coming back had ash trays in them. Yeah, ash trays. We've haven't been allowed to smoke on a plane since the 70's, right? Surely, my plane was not that old. I was hoping maybe the seats had just been recycled, but the couple primer grey panels on the wing leads to be believe I just flew home in a relic.

- I thought security was supposed to be heightened. And tougher to get through. And we all have to show a barcoded ticket that someone scans prior to boarding the plane. Apparantly, that bar code isn't what we thought it was. On the first leg of the trip, someone had the same seat as a lady near me and I kindly pointed out to him (with my powers of observation above those of normal humans) that his ticket was not for this flight. Wouldn't the bar code not have scanned if it was for the wrong flight? However, I realized why before boarding my next plane. The guy in front of me had a ticket that the attendant couldn't get the barcode machine to scan. So she tried keying the ticket in manually and it kept erroring. 3 times she did this. Then, she told him to go on and she'd worry about it later. Later?!$@# When we find out he's a terrorist and used a fake ticket to board and he's taking down the plane? Heck, it can't be that hard to forge a ticket that doesn't have to scan in the barcode machine or be entered manually. That makes forgery easy. What is the point of even having the bar code? Or the ticket for that matter?

- Finally, looks like the marketing gurus have finally taken over the friendly skies. Yep, they've found more places to advertise. All the tray tables on all my flights were covered in advertisements and even the bottoms of the bins to place all your crap in to go through the x-ray machine were advertised on. Remember everyone, nothing says "Buy my product" quite like being treated like a suspect. Do all these companies really want to be associated with one of the most annoying parts of travelling? In Greenville, all the ads were for Charter. So, in that case, the association is a more positive one than the actual Charter experience. Normally, when I think of the perfect places for Charter to advertise, I think about maybe them putting an ad on a dentists drill or pick. Possibly, an ad on the side of a rectal thermometer. Or on a cover sheet for a subpoena? These are all things I would associate to the Charter experience and then I saw it, I'd be reminded of Charter and all my wonderful customer disservice experiences with them. In your mind, it would make sense and it would just click. And that would be a memorable advertisement.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Travel Jotts

A couple notes on my travel to Miami today:

-Since when did flying on an airplane allow you to wear pajamas in public?  I still don't understand that.  Its not like you are travelling in your car, there are plenty of other people around.  I think people forget about that fact when they fly.  Like today on the plane, this guy is playing poker on a handheld with the sound on.  I don't want to hear who he's doing.  Be considerate, its bad enough we are all crammed into a small space.

-Thanks to US Airways trying to save a penny or two on gas, we had to land prematurely in Fort Lauderdale to fuel up for the final 30 miles.  Because we sat on the runway in Charlotte 20 mins, we didn't have enough gas to circle the airport when a "micro burst" storm came up.  Secondly, I was delayed by two such "micro bursts" today.  Shouldn't weather terms be universal?  I don't think you can just make them up on the fly to suit your needs. Anyway, that little detour set me back 2 hours.

-Who schedules flights?  They should be fired.  For like the 5th straight time, I've had to wait to take off.  Ridiculous.  Today, we were 20th in line and the weather was perfect. 

-Who decided airline seats should recline?  They should be shot.  I guess the concept is not all bad.  But as soon as they break, they go back way too far and never get fixed.  I hate 2 hour flights with someone lounged 6 inches in front of my face.  Sometimes I cough frequently just to disturb them.  They are invading my personal space, they should be subjected to my germs too right?
I almost got into a fight with some guy on a flight to LA one time over this.  His chair came back so far, it touched my face.  I had to put mine back to keep him from slamming it my face repeatedly.  Needless to say, he didn't care and the flight attendant was on his side.  Today wasn't quite that bad, but he couldn't figure out how to get it to recline again after the stewardess made him put it up for takeoff and I wasn't volunteering the information. 

Table for One

There's nothing worse than going into a restaraunt and saying "table for one please."  It was really bad when I was single, and now that I'm married, I dread it just as much.  First of all, it reminds you that you are away from your wife and having to eat alone.  Secondly, you get treated like a second class citizen if you don't want to sit at the bar.  I'm sorry, but I don't like to sit at the bar.  I want to sit in a regular chair at a regular table and enjoy my meal.  I don't want to strike up conversation with the person next to me, nor the bartender, and I certainly don't want to eat my meal straddling a bar stool.  I know many people enjoy it, but its not for me.  So instead, I have to wait until every couple and family that comes after me for 45 minutes gets seated and done eating, then I'm allowed to be sat.  I feel like a homeless person begging for scraps.  So please, restaraunt owners, parties of 1 are customers too.  Please treat us that way.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

50 Years of Lego

So, this actually happened like a week ago or so, but Lego recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Lego brick. As many of you know, I am a big fan of Lego, my childhood would not have been the same with out it. Nowadays, that I'm old and grown, I'm judging Lgo F.I.R.S.T. competitions and converting my Lego's into USB thumb drive covers using my dremel. Anyway, thank you Lego and see the Lego timeline and my homemade Lego USB drive below.
Click on the timeline for a larger view

Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

Time for my annual Super Bowl preview and it will again come with the disclaimer that this is probably be very lengthy.

This year, we have the 18-0 Patriots vs the 10-6 Giants. Not quite the matchup that everyone had predicted, well, everyone predicted the Patriots would be the team representing the AFC, but everyone excepted Eli to through 4 interceptions and be out in the first round. But throughout the playoffs, an improved passing game and improved run defense have allowed the Giants to keep winning.

And now, its time for the Super Bowl. The stakes are a little higher now. Here's what's surprising to me. On the SportsNation poll on ESPN this week, 39% of sports fans think the Giants are going to win. Really? On what basis? We really are a nation of haters aren't we? So many people don't want to see the Patriots go undefeated that they can't separate themselves from it enough to think rationally about it. They are 18-0, have you seen them play? What makes anyone think that a 10-6 NFC team has a chance against them? The Giants could even beat them at home in cold weather. They are going to beat them at a neutral site in warm weather? Does everyone forget that in warm weather, the Pats were beating people by 40 points in the first half? Oh well, I guess 50% of Americans can't find Florida on a map, why would we think they could predict the winner of the Super Bowl.

The Prediction Factor
Is Plaxico Burress a complete idiot? Predicting to the media that you are going to beat the Patriots this year hasn't worked for any of the other teams, why is it going to work for the Giants. In fact, it seems to only tick the Patriots off. Good job Plaxico, you just about guaranteed yourself that Bill is going to have a game plan for shutting you down. Hope you didn't want a catch in the Super Bowl. Then he says that the Giants receivers are better than the Pats recievers. Sure, let's tick Moss, Welker, and Stallworth off too.
Speaking of people saying stupid things to the media. I got a chuckle out of an interview I heard a couple nights ago with Giants offensive lineman David Diehl. He said that he thought the Giants had a chance because no one is perfect and because this was not only the best team he'd ever been on, but the best one he'd ever seen. Maybe he sat out week 17 when the Patriots beat them? Oh, and the team you are playing, they are perfect so far.

Experience/Letdown factor
The Patriots have been here before. 4 out of the last 7 times. They know how to prepare for the game while being bombarded with interviews. They know how much slower the pace of the game will be compared to a regular season or even playoff game. They know what its like to have people think they have no chance (like the Giants) and how to overcome it and you know coach Bill will coach his team for how to prepare for that.
And the let down factor is that the Giants think they want to win, they think they can win. But deep down, they are happy to be there. No one expected them to be in the Super Bowl, no one will fault them if they lose. The let down factor comes into play with you get down by 14 early and you look up at that scoreboard and you know. That's game over.

Patriots offense vs. Giants defense
Sorry, Plaxico, but the Patriots haven't been held to 17 pts or less in a long time. And Coach Bill has only improved when playing a team a second time in the season. The Giants would have been better off forfeiting in Week 17 so the Pats couldn't see their plan for stopping them. Plus, this is what I've heard from Giants. They have a plan to shut down Moss, to shut down Welker, Faulk, and Stallworth. They have a plan to pressure Brady. They have a plan to stop Maroney. How many guys are they going to have on the field? Do they know they are only allowed 11?
They have a better chance at trying to keep them under 40 and they hoping they can find a way to score themselves, which brings us too...

Giants offense vs. Patriots defense
Now, I know Eli has played better in the playoffs, but he's going to have to get a lot better to beat this Patriots team. They've seem him already, and not too long ago. They know they need to get pressure on him and will find a way to do so. Belichick is a defensive genious, he's going to find ways to pressure Eli and keep him from even having the decent game that he had in Week 17. So, with Eli out of the picture, will the Giants be able to run enough on that Pats D-line and aging linebacker group to put up the kind of points to beat the Patriots? I have a tendency to think they will be fortunate to score over 24.

This Patriots team is one of the best teams ever assembled. What have the Giants done that would make anyone think that they have a chance? They played them close a couple weeks ago. That's what people are basing that on. Most major Vegas oddsmakers opened the line at around 14 pts, its still around 12. That's a lot of points. That means they are fairly confident in their pick. I won't dispute that it MIGHT be a close game, but look at the history of the Super Bowl. It normally isn't. This game is decided by the 3rd quarter and the 4th quarter merely decides the MVP.
I still just can't wrap my head around how so many people say this is one of the best teams in NFL history and then in the next breath say the Giants have chance to beat them.

Halftime: Patriots 21, Giants 10
Final: Patriots 38, Giants 24