I think a nice new home is in your immediate future.
And on behalf of the human race, I can only offer apologies for what some unknown lower-than-a-snake-belly total waste of space did to you before you were found and rescued.
I don’t really hate Christmas. Although I think I already said that it’s not Christmas I hate, just the gross commercialized culture of excess and frenzy that comes with it these days.
So, it happened again to me this year. The annual miracle of the Christmas spirit. Right on schedule, the morning of December 24. I had no more gifts to buy, but some left to wrap. And errands to run.
I cranked up some favorite Christmas music. My favorites change a little. This year the most played Christmas song on my iPod is this one:
Followed by “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” featured below.
With the music going, I felt my old cold grinchy heart start to warm and melt. Sang along to the iPod, practiced singing harmony to “Silent Night.”
Hopped into the car, with iPod music blasting, practically danced around Costco. Sang to the checkout staff and thanked them for working Christmas Eve. They must be trained to deal with crazy people; they were unfazed.
Was it me? Or were most people I saw in Costco on Christmas Eve *not* all stressing out this year?
Home again, had fun wrapping the presents, all for the little kids in the family. Was sure I wouldn’t make it in time to join the family at church, even called to say so. Figured as I headed out for their part of town that I’d hope to find a coffee shop nearby open, to sip and read for a while till they could get home and let me in. But the magic of Christmas slipped the old Subaru right down the freeways and into the church parking lot to a space across from the family’s van, and ushered me into the church two minutes before the service started. Everybody squished down and made room for me in the row.
So I got to have my annual misty-eyed Christmas Eve service experience at their church, which really piles it on and surpassed itself this year. I think the only thing left is to actually bring in live animals for the manger scene, so I wouldn’t miss next year’s service for the world. Despite the lingering cough from my recent sickness I sang pretty well, and cried during the final candle-lighting in the darkened church. And managed not to splash candle wax around when I blew out my candle afterward.
Nice eats and gift exchange back at the cousins’ after church. Four little kids, two sets of young parents, their grandparents on their dads’ side, two great-grandparents, and assorted loose cannon cousins. Including moi. So many gifts that expressed the love and involvement all these people have in each others’ lives, along with lots of giggles, laughs and squeals among the wrapping-ripping. Some of which was from the kids. A toy horse was the gift of the night for one of the girls, a toy rifle for one of the boys.
After the gifts, the electric Christmas tree lights were turned off, room lights doused, and the little candles in heirloom German silver holders on the tree branches were lit, for all of us to enjoy for a few minutes. That’s what trees looked like way back when.
Christmas day, after Jasper got a nice walk, I worked a morning shift as a volunteer hospitality ambassador at the airport. Lots of family reunions, Santa hats, people with antler headbands, hugs, smiles, even people thanking me for being there. Basically as a talking directional sign – yesterday I was mostly at the spot where people ask directions to their baggage claim carousels. There being 19 of them, I don’t have every single bit of info memorized but fortunately it’s not too hard to steer them the right way. And they give us a cheat sheet too.
Then it was home again, to rest my feet for a while. Then back out to the cousins’ for a nice dinner with most of the family. A quiet time to chat and laugh with the people who’ve known me all my life, or whom I’ve known all their lives, as the case may be. And they put up with me anyway. Bless them.
Long live Christmas. I hope you all had some miracles too, especially the miracles of comfort and joy.
Happy birthday to a happy, friendly little guy who was born on Christmas Eve last year.
You’ve been worth it, dude. I hope we have a lot more Christmases together.
Now, go out, locate a nice guy for me. And fetch.
Yes, right there on page 1 of the Denver Post:
“The black box has a bazillion different parameters on it. They will hone in on what went wrong.” Mike Boyd, aviation analyst, on the voice and data recorders, above, that have been sent to National Transportation Safety Board headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Gosh, isn’t it great when our local papers bring us the benefits of specialized expertise?
Of all the total stupid backassward fatuous IDIOCY I have read in the course of a long and wasted life, something I saw today online may have taken the all-time award for Stupid Backassward Fatuous Idiocy.
Some clueless airhead who is either a lower-than-a-snake-belly liar, or has had all his or her taste buds surgically rendered inoperable, or has a serious personality disorder involving totally deadened pleasure receptors in every square inch of his or her no doubt unappealing body, has actually written and posted THIS, on the MSNBC website, no less, in an article explaining how dieters can “trade up to healthier treats”:
Skip it: Chocolate chip cookies
234 calories, 13.6 g fat per three cookies
Scarf it: Fill your cookie jar with 100% Whole Grain Fig Newtons and you can feel good about having a helping. A three-Newton snack (165 calories, 3 g fat) nets you 80 percent less fat than three chocolate chip cookies; plus, their 3 g of fiber will leave you feeling fuller.
You save: 69 calories, 10.6 g fat
That is so wrong.
First, if I actually ate three Fig Newtons either whole grain or partial grain, I would save the entire 165 calories because after managing to choke them down I believe I would, well, not keep them down.
Second, and maybe this should be first: who the hell could possibly believe that anything, much less something as creepy as FIG BLOODY NEWTONS, which does not contain chocolate, could in any way, shape or form, be a substitute for a chocolate chip cookie?
Finally, I will concede that under certain circumstances incompatible with my personal situation, a FIG NEWTON might be considered a treat. And one might “feel good” after consuming one. Or three. See the title of this post.
At least a dozen years ago I volunteered for a Saturday airport emergency preparedness exercise. Involving a simulated plane crash, a real airline flight crew, real emergency responders from the airport and surrounding agencies, the Red Cross, you name it. I was one of the “passengers” and the organizers made us all up to look appropriately injured.
It was a cool-to-cold clear fall morning as we assembled, got our makeup (moulage) applied, and eventually took our seats in the aircraft. It was an old 707 which was parked out by a hanger and had been stripped of its engines, etc. I took a seat in the first-class area near the front.
We sat for a little bit, then the flight attendants grabbed bullhorns and called out that we’d crashed, and we had to evacuate. I headed for the closest exit, which was in front of me, but the flight attendant there in the aisle yelled to us, “this is blocked, you have to go back!” So we turned and went down stairs (no chute in this case) out onto the concrete around the plane. We were guided away from the aircraft and then sat and laid down to wait for the first responders.
It was so quiet. So very quiet. And it seemed like such a long time until we heard the first sirens. It couldn’t have been very long, really, but my God it seemed like a lifetime. And nobody was hurt, nothing was burning, it was just a beautiful day out on the north end of a major international airport next to a big hangar.
I remember bits of the rest; I got evacuated by helicopter to Denver Health in midtown, then took a loonngg bus ride back out to the airport with the others who’d been transported there. (Note: if you get hit, shot, knifed or run over in Denver, you *want* to be taken to that ER, believe me.)
Ever since then, people, I really do pay attention to the emergency instructions when I get on an airplane. I note where the emergency exits are, in front of me and behind me. When I fly I don’t wear flip flops, fancy dress shoes, or any clothing that I can’t climb, bend, crawl, and run like hell in. I remind myself that if we get into any emergency evacuation situation the ONLY valuable thing I had better try to take off that plane is my own sweet self, and there’s nothing in my carry-on bag that I’m willing to die for. I usually put my main ID including passport in a pocket. And figure that anything on my notebook PC that hasn’t been backed up? I’d better be able to live without.
I swing between preferring an aisle seat for the ability to get out immediately for routine (bathroom) reasons and in any emergency, and quaking at the thought of being brained by some idiot’s overstuffed carryon luggage falling out of an overhead bin above me, which is less likely if one’s in the window seat.
The lessons of that Saturday are so well-ingrained that I don’t often think of it. But I did this afternoon when I read this piece in Newsweek by a passenger who was on Continental 1404 in Denver last night. The headline: “A sudden, terrible stillness.” And I remembered the quiet, lying on concrete waiting for sirens, with time to realize that this is how it happens, only often in the dark, in the rain, in deep cold or awful heat, after a car wreck or a plane wreck. The reporters and photographers get there after the emergency crews, the flashing lights and sirens, so we always see the vehicles, the uniforms, the flashing lights, in the news coverage. What we don’t see on the news is before that, between the crash and the response. The stillness, the isolation, that awful waiting when you are praying that help is on the way.
Seriously, people, I enjoy flying, I believe it’s safer than driving, and yet I don’t show up in flip-flops and silly clothes for it. I can only hope and pray that if I am ever a passenger in a commercial aircraft incident that’s survivable, the flip-flop quotient on that particular flight will be really really low.
Thailand’s new foreign minister has described the recent hijacking of Bangkok’s airports as a lot of fun.
And like a fool I chose to reschedule my Thailand trip to late March 3 weeks ago. When because of all the FUN they were having over there in Bangkok – so much fun there were no flights going in or out – our trip couldn’t go as scheduled. I could have chosen a trip to another destination, but I stuck with Thailand
I wonder if it’s too late to change my mind?
Denver International Airport (DEN) has several banks of charging stations for electronic devices (phones, notebooks, laptops, PDAs, cameras, whatever) located on the concourses (as opposed to the Main Terminal Building). They are marked with “FreeCharge” signs. There’s no cost for their use. Here are a couple of pictures.
Details of where to find them:
A Gates aka A Concourse or Concourse A, 2 locations:
B Gates aka B Concourse or Concourse B, 4 locations:
C Gates, aka C Concourse or Concourse C, 2 locations:
Also in the C Gates area, at some of the Southwest Airlines gates on the East side, there are small freestanding counter-height tables – some with stools, some not – with electric outlets which are available at no cost.
(This just updates some information I posted several months ago, minus irrelevant blather.)
Another news story covered via twitter. See http://twitter.com/2drinksbehind. The saga starts with the tweet that reads “Holy f*g sh**t I wasbjust in a plane crash!”
HFS, that’s my airport. God, I am so glad everyone got out of the plane. (Continental flight 1404 from Denver (DEN) to Houston (IAH), went off runway into ravine on takeoff at 6:18 p.m. last night. Our local TV news is now giving us pictures of the plane sitting upright, covered with firefighters’ foam that looks like snow. But isn’t. DFD says the fire was intense but apparently didn’t get into cabin until everyone was out, nobody got burned.)
I was out there yesterday morning for my volunteer shift. Noticed it was windy as hell when I left, but that was six hours before the accident.
It’s bad enough that evil winter weather all over the rest of the country is messing up airline flight schedules. This accident has caused closure of half of DEN’s 6 runways for several hours, although I hear now that 1 or 2 of the 3 West airfield runways have been reopened, meaning that 4 or 5 of DEN’s 6 are again in operation.
Sorry, air-traveling people, looks like delays and cancellations all over the place this weekend.
Jasper seems to be thinking about calling his agent to ask if the hat was part of the deal.
Finally. The tour company called. They can’t get us into Thailand for our tour as scheduled (later this week), and now we’re scheduled to take that trip in March.
The political protesters are moving out of the Bangkok airports, which will eventually reopen for business as usual. I hope. I understand that PAD, the group that moved from occupying Government House to shutting down the airports, has the backing of the country’s elites – businesses, academics, the royals. I wonder if PAD may have overstepped that support when it seized and shut down the airports, which has had a huge negative effect on the nation’s businesses of all kinds.
On the other hand? Maybe the country’s elites are totally OK with the mass confusion and economic destruction that the airport seizures caused. It’s certainly true that neither the armed forces nor the police showed any real interest, enthusiasm or competence in either preventing the airport takeovers or ending them, or even keeping the masses occupying the airports from growing. Apparently because they understood that PAD is backed by the royal family, among other very important entities.
I hope I haven’t made a big mistake in keeping the booking for Thailand instead of selecting a tour of another country. The Land of Smiles isn’t likely to be stable politically in the near future, but its political uproars have been internal matters, not involving widespread violence or hostility to tourists. I hope that remains true.