You know you fly too much when…

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 

… at check in your friend Laura gives you a big hug because you haven’t seen her for a few weeks. Then you talk about your travel plans with Cedric at security who’s the coolest DHS employee there is. Then you’re glad to see the purser is Elisabeth who asks where you were last week and you compare flight schedules to figure out the next flight you’ll be on together. Then you get on the connecting flight and the purser is Lou Ann and who is really surprised you didn’t get upgraded and brings you some treats in economy. Then you get to customs and line up with one of the agents you know (but Canadian customs agents don’t tell you their names or have name tags, just numbers)….

United has some good employees. All it really takes to be taken care of is if, when things go wrong, you’re not a total dick.

My best travel advice, this from someone who’s flown about 1.5 million miles, is simple: don’t be a dick. When things go wrong, and something will most of the time, just be pleasant and patient and figure out your best option on your own and you’ll almost certainly get it because you’re helping while everyone else is being a dick with attitude.

And really, what’s to like about a dick with attitude?

Posted at 23:00:27 GMT-0700

Category: Travel

Rental Canadian Grand Am

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 

Same exact car?

rental Canadian grand am.jpg
After a while, you get to know the people, places, and even  rental cars personally.
Posted at 21:00:27 GMT-0700

Category: photoRental cars

Sutro Baths

Monday, May 26, 2008 

Just a kinda cool picture of the fractured end of a rail line that used to run through a tunnel at Sutro Baths in SF and is slowly dissolving.

Posted at 02:00:32 GMT-0700

Category: photoPlaces

Maple Leaf Club YUL

Sunday, May 25, 2008 

The Maple Leaf Club at the Montreal airport (international side) is small, but as elegant and well kept up as the international and domestic clubs at YYZ. Maple Leaf clubs always have soup and salad (after 4:30), which is generally quite good, and always seem to have a good selection of cookies and other treats.

They also have decent free alcohol including good beer (draft Guinness) and a good selection of liquor. My preference is for the Crown Royal. The bathrooms are clean (small at YUL). There’s free “DataValet” wifi, but I couldn’t get an IP address at YUL (generally it works, but the service isn’t particularly snappy).

Star Aliance Gold gets you in, but you can also buy access with your ticket for small extra fee – something like $15, which is a lot cheaper than buying a few drinks at an airport bar. Plus free soup! Can’t go wrong with free soup.

maple leaf club YUL.jpg
Posted at 18:00:42 GMT-0700

Category: PlanesTravel

Air Canada 777 with funny lighting

Sunday, May 25, 2008 

I took an Air Canada flight from Toronto/YYZ to Montreal/YUL on Friday. This is basically a regional flight – LA to SF, 54 minutes… but it was a two class 777, completely full. The plane was brand new and very nice inside. It had color-varying LED lighting inside. I noticed it had changed blue mid-flight, and then it cycled to a few other colors as we landed. Very festive.

ac 777 yellow.jpg

ac 777 violet.jpg
Posted at 18:00:34 GMT-0700

Category: photoPlanes

Car Kisses Truck on 401

Friday, May 23, 2008 


car kisses truck on 401.jpg
Must have been an unpleasant surprise, but I don’t think anyone was hurt.
I think the driver changed lanes into a truck (the truck was parked further on).  The right side of the car is pretty mashed, but it looked like the person managed to pull over safely.
Posted at 13:00:29 GMT-0700

Category: photo

Ford Taurus X Rental

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 

Rental car review

ford taurus x.jpg
This week i got a new Ford Taurus X, an interesting rental car. It’s an SUV type vehicle, oversized and overaccesorized, but a surprisingly pleasant vehicle that’s fairly easy to drive and comfortable.
Now the theory is that such a car would be good for off-road use or something since it has four wheel drive, but that’s really not happening. Better to think of it as a minivan with a nose and some extra weight in the drive train. Desipite the foolishness of SUVs in general, and especially given gas prices, the car had some neat features.
  • I used the backup sensor in a parking lot – a good thing as the car is long and has poor visibility out the back.
  • It has an outside temperature indicator which I like.
  • The seat moves all the way back when you take the key out, and then back to where it was for us old people.
  • The tailgate opens and closes itself, which is kind of absurd and overkill but fun in a gadgety way.
  • The engine is fairly powerful (Canadian rentals seem to be more powerful than US rentals – my .ca Grand Am would spin it’s wheels embarrassingly easily, whereas my Grand Am in LA was kind of anemic).
  • It’s quiet and comfortable.
  • The rear seats fold into the floor of the car – just like a mini-van.
  • The stereo had an analog input and a 6 CD MP3 changer
  • It has Microsoft Sync – more on that below.

Read more…

Posted at 23:00:30 GMT-0700

Category: photoRental carsReviews

REN Chrysler in LA

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 

Carolyn and I attended Matthew Barney’s REN shoot at the ephemeral REN Chrysler dealership at the intersection of Rosecrans and Bloomfield in Santa Fe Springs yesterday.


It was a very impressive show, fun to watch and at moments quite exciting, though largely staged for the cameras. The former RV sales lot was converted to an amazingly convincing Chrysler dealership complete with stationary on the walls, sales targets, car dealers and pictures of the employees of the month.

The performance started with the synchronized arrival of sections of a marching band which aggregated in the parking lot. The effect was pretty cool, with timing and distance and location of the different elements spread over a huge distance and slowly coalescing, all lead by marching band leader (and composer) Jonathan Bepler, who I’ve known since grade school but hadn’t seen in person for decades.

An iconic Chrysler Imperial was revealed as a funerary casket, a procession pulled by a few dozen strong men, as Egyptian slaves might have hauled stone blocks, down from the roof of the building and through the parking lot.

The imperial wended its way into a showroom to trade places with a gold firebird and then to its demise at the teeth of a deforestation machine, the showroom fitted with bullet-proof glass and lots of crickets for the purpose. The glass, amazingly, proved strong enough for the flying car parts and crow bars, but was not quite proof against the stabilizer feet of the gigantic excavator. We were perfectly located for that moment.
The remains of the imperial were ritually collected and we joined the staff in the parts department for the final procession involving scarabs, a beautiful woman, and a surprisingly large funerary drape, especially surprising given the orifice from which it was extracted.

The depth of detail of the performance was extraordinary. No simple write up can do it justice and I can’t imagine that even a small part of every carefully prepared element can make it to the final film. The details made walking through the performance an exercise in discovery – from post-it notes in the office, to the illuminated Chrysler signs as tunable Taiko drums, to the dealer tags on the cars in the lot everything was meticulously prepared over four weeks. Then a day later it was gone.


Posted at 12:00:27 GMT-0700

Category: FilmsphotoReviews

Eat Vulva at SFO

Sunday, May 18, 2008 

The Eat Vulva meme continues at the SFO RCC.

eat vulva SFO.jpg
Posted at 14:00:19 GMT-0700

Category: FunnyLatrinaliaphotoPlanesTravel

Changing Gates at DEN

Friday, May 16, 2008 

Inexplicably, flight 505 was moved from one empty gate in Denver to another empty gate a little further down.
And the herd said “Moo.”

Changing Gates at DEN.jpg
Posted at 21:00:22 GMT-0700

Category: photoPlanesTravel