The observations and opinions of a person who has no discernible insights or ideas.

Monday, May 28, 2007

"I'm having a bad meeting." 

Last week, I went back to the Keystone State (just south of the Molson Province) for some meetings. This trip marked my first time (out of 5 trips so far) to this place where I didn't visit the shop floor where all the work is done. Instead, I hung out at the Officers' Club drinking lots of water and snacking on the food that was brought in.

I declined to go on the tours of the shops that were offered. I figured that I've gone this long without a formal tour of their facility, so there's no point going now.

One of the highlights from the trip came after my plane landed back at SLC. We had taxied almost to the gate, but had to stop while some stuff was moved out of our way. After the captain had told us this, a woman got up and started heading towards the exit. It took some persuading from the flight attendants to convince her to return to her seat (especially since the woman was not a native English speaker), but she did sit down and the plane moved a few more feet to the gate. Once we were given permission to stand, the woman started pushing her way through the crowd to get off the plane, saying that she had to catch another flight. No one thought much of this until a man just in front of me realized that she was taking the same flight he would be taking. We had arrived early and it was leaving in 40 minutes from a gate that was a 5 minute walk from where we landed, if you take your time. I'm guessing that she doesn't fly often, but I'll also guess that she caught her flight (unless the air marshals decided to ask her a few questions first).

I suppose that I can relate to her. I've missed flights with a short layover, and only caught some others after running frantically between gates. I've never missed a flight in a small (compared to Atlanta) airport when I had 40 minutes to catch it.

Anyway, it's good to be home.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fear and Loathing in San Francisco 

Another week, another trip.

Last week, I went to the City of Brotherly Love, assuming that those brothers love each other like husband and wife. We had scheduled five days, including two travel days, for a two hour one-way plane ride and what we planned on being a two day meeting at the most. I was planning to have some spare time to spend doing some meaningless work. I didn’t want to see the sights. I had been to San Fran back in ‘99 and was thoroughly unimpressed.

So, our flight which was just late enough in the morning to make it pointless to go to work before hand got in at noon, which was too early to check into the hotel. So, we headed into town to get some lunch and chocolate. We parked in a very public parking garage and locked all of our things in the trunk and set out. Afterwards, we went to the hotel where we found two of the four suitcases that we had put in the trunk and none of the other three bags. I was lucky though. My suitcase was left behind. Two of us had no luggage spared and one of them had left his wallet in the trunk as well, with all of his credit cards and ID.

Thought question: How do you fly home when you do not have any photo ID to show at the airport? Discuss.

So, short a lot of clothes and two laptops, including the one issued to me (also my MP3 player, headphones, key drive, jacket, and book) and all of our paperwork for our meetings, we set out to try to negotiate with some intransigent people. I don’t want to go into it, but we did finish our work at 7:00 Thursday night. So much for a two day job.

One funny thing is that one guy on the trip was my second cousin, once removed. I’ve never met him before.

Anyway, it was a long trip. I’m glad to be home, even though the inquisition has just started. Apparently if you lose a computer, people want to know all about it.

And to the Rainbow City, I gave you another chance, and this is how you treat me? We are so not talking.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

"Old times there are not forgotten" 

I just came back from my sister-in-law's commencement. This is the first graduation that I have attended where I was not a) graduating or b) dating one of the graduates (this includes graduates that I was married to). Apparently, attending each others' graduations is something that my in-laws do.

(Note to my brother who will be graduating this month while wearing one freakin' awesome cap: This changes nothing. I'm still not coming.)

All asides aside, the trip went quite well. It served several purposes. One was to get us to St. George, which is a city that I would not stop at for longer than a few hours if I did not have family there. Another was to test out our new car/car seat/son on a road trip. Two five hour legs were good practice for when we take him to Yellowstone later this year. There were some logistical problems (for most of the trip, one of us rode in the back), but for the most part, the boy slept or entertained himself, and I can fit into the back seat if the front seat is suitably far forward.

As for the commencement, the speaker was a banker/basketball franchise owner who almost failed to get a BS degree and has a scarcely concealed contempt for higher education. Fortunately, the school doesn't give any degrees higher than a BS except for the honorary ones bestowed on commencement speakers and the like.

They had two valedictorians speak, one for the BS programs and one for the lesser graduates. The BS valedictorian was noteworthy since her brother has been missing for a few weeks, which apparently has made the news farther north without making actual headlines. All of the speakers who were associated with the school referred to the Dixie Spirit, which I thought had some amusingly inappropriate potential misinterpretations. They have enough trouble in that area with cities that want to withdraw from international treaties (question: do they have to join the organization before they can withdraw from it?) and religious fundamentalists. They don't need to inadvertently invoke the spirit of Jim Crow laws and white supremacy.

One student had died in a scuba diving accident during the school year and so his widow and two sons accepted his posthumous AS degree on his behalf, receiving a rousing ovation. I was slightly disappointed that she wore red regalia (as did all of the women who didn't receive a BS degree) instead of the blue that her husband would have worn. Still, they deserved the applause that they received.

I was proud of my sister-in-law for receiving the highest degree offered by her school, unless she can become very successful and get invited back to mock some future graduating class. Way to go, Bud, and thank you for taking us in for the night.

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