Flying to London

I only had 10 days in England, and I wasn’t going to lose any of them to jet lag.  Since I couldn’t sync my sleep cycle before I left, I decided to try and crash into English time.  I stayed up as late as I could the night before I left, planning to coast trough work.  I wanted to be completely exhausted, but force myself to stay awake until a proper bed time and then fall to an exhausted sleep when I got to England.

In the early hours of the morning, I was goofing off on the internet when I realized either they changed my flight time or I such at the 24 hour clock, because the flight I though left at 8 pm left at 10.  I pretended it was delayed and went through with my original plan.  I also decided I need to practice the 24 hour clock.  The next day at:

07:15 I showed up at S1`s place.  I had bribed her with Crave Cupcakes to take me and my luggage to work that day, and to the airport that night. 

How to get your way in one easy step

This plan meant no suit cases on the C-Train, which makes my life easier.

08:00 to 16:00 Apparently I worked, but in a cloud of anticipation, I don`t remember any of it.

16:01 I rushed S1 out of the office.

16:20 We arrived at the airport.  I was bouncing around the car the whole way there.  I fucking love to travel.  S1 stopped the car and I took out my luggage.  She hugged me good-bye, and I was too tired to let her know that we aren`t hugging friends, but that`s generally how people become my hugging friends; someone tries to hug me, I don`t stop them, the world doesn`t end, and it is therefore permissible in future. 

That`s not an excuse to try it, S2.

16:31 At Cole`s, I bought the first to volumes of the graphic novel version of Scott Pilgrim.  The girls at the counter ask me if I`ve seen the movie.  They`re almost cute, and paying attention to me, which makes them cute enough.  I regurgitated this blog. They are entranced.

16:42 I realize I`m holding up the line.  I leave.  The girls are heartbroken, and rightfully so.

16:51 I head into the Montana`s lounge and get a vodka coke and a chipolte burger.

19:57 I realize I`ve read two complete volumes of Scott Pilgrim.  I settle up my bill.

20:04 I check in using electronic boarding passes direct to my phone for the first time.  If you`ve never used one, it works like this; within 24 hours of your flight, you log onto the carrier`s website and put in your phone number or email and booking number.  You receive an image of a bar code on your phone, which gets scanned anytime you would usually show your boarding pass.

The woman who checked my bags obviously hadn`t seen a lot of them, because she was confused as to where to write down my gate info. She then realized it was in the text the bar code came with

20:08 I returned to Cole`s to get Scott Pilgrim 3 and 4.  Unfortunately, the shift had changed and I didn`t care about the hipster dude who really wanted my opinions on shit.  I leave quickly, breaking his heart, and rightly so.

20:12 I tried to go to the B Gate, but it was closed, saying we needed to check through security at gate A

20:15 I reached gate A.  With double the passengers, no one thought to increase the staff.

20:17 I realized only one of the metal detectors is open.

20:20 A French father and his four kids lined up behind me.  The three sons and one daughter were all dressed in matching pink striped sweaters.  Obviously mortified, they decided to raise all kinds of hell to embarrass him.

20:22 By this point, the wild kids were running and fighting and squabbling, and they`ve reminded me of an ad.

A French child screams in the grocery store for bonbons.  The temper tantrum gets worse and worse until the kid is screaming on the floor.  The camera then looks at the exasperated, end of his wits dad.  It’s an ad for condoms.  I wish this French dad had seen it.

20:23 I considered offering to slap one of his kids upside the head.

20:24 A kid punched the dad.  He slapped the boy upside the head.  I suppressed a cheer.  The dad tells the kid, in English “Do you want to fight me?  Go ahead.  You’ll lose.”

20:47 I get called to the metal detector, and rush through to escape the Franco-Hellions.

20:52 The security guards pull the French family aside to check one of their bags.  I can only assume the staff planned to punish the father for what he has put everyone through via an invasive cavity search.

21:09 After long consideration, I decided that even at duty free prices, I shouldn’t buy a 2-6 of Triple Distilled Smirnoff Vodka.  I was going to the UK, where drinking is like kung-fu — there are many styles, and I go to learn from the masters, not to study the style I use at home.

21:33 Half an hour of peace is shattered when Franco-Hellion family showed up at my gate.  They were on my flight.  I consider telling the airport security guard that they are a gang of armed drug smuggling terrorists to keep them off the flight.

21:51 Everyone who got on the plane before me misread their row numbers.  I forced everyone of them to move, displacing fifteen people so I can sit in my assigned seat.  I feel like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, but when no one is in the seat next to me, I became too happy to care.

This is the face of satisfaction at the expense of others.

22:03 I remembered why I love big Boeings.  This thing was like a smooth air mall in the sky.  There was enough room with that empty seat, drink service as soon as we leveled off, and a little screen that let you chose your own entertainment as soon as the seatbelt light went off.

22:15 After a peaceful half an hour and another volume of Scott Pilgrim finished, I turn on the inflight entertainment system.  I watched several episodes of 30 Rock, Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind, some crappy sitcom called Party Down, and fell asleep to Gunless.

Hour Unknown: I felt the plane begin to descend.  I failed at staying awake, but it should be middle of the afternoon local time.  It was a Saturday.  I decided to wake up and find someone to drink with, because that’s how I travel.


To Be Continued…


Flying to Portland

Friday, 4:16 pm

I arrive at the Calgary International Airport.  If my passport can be trusted, and I’m reasonably certain that it can, it’s been exactly one year since I returned from my last visit to Japan, and it’s been too long.  Sure, I’m just going to Oregon.  I could drive there.  It’s just good to be getting out.  My boss, T1, had never seen me so excited at work.  I spent the whole day bouncing off the walls, singing, and being happy.  My traditional work mood is caustically sarcastic as I worry about the state of my soul, and she was worried I was drunk.  That’ll take more than the three beers I shot gun in the parking lot at lunch…

4:25 pm

I need to check in.  I’m flying Alaska Air, and I can’t find their counter or kiosk.  Everything is WestJet and Air Canada, and the few other companies in the terminal aren’t even close to what I’m looking for.  This is the first time I’ve booked through Expedia.  Most of my adult life, when someone else isn’t arranging my travel for me, I’ve gone through Shogo at Osaka #1 Travel.  Shogo liked major airlines, and he kept me on Air Nippo0n and Air Canada the vast majority of the time.  Maybe it was a Japanese thing, preferring the big brand names.  Now that I don’t live in Japan, I can’t book through him because I can’t pay him without a Japanese bank account.  A computer program that finds the cheapest flights is a poor substitute for his considerate attention.  I think I need to get a real travel agent again.


Using my detective skills and my willingness to just press buttons on a self-serve kiosk, I discover Alaska Air operates as Horizon Air.  Thanks for the info, Expedia.


I go to check my suitcase at the Horizon desk.  The guy tags it and points me to the U.S. customs part of the terminal.  I haven’t flown into the U.S. post 9-11, so I didn’t realize how intense the security had really gotten, or that they haven’t really relaxed.  No other country has the paranoia, the balls, or the international weight to make you clear customs pre-flight.  Normally, you do it when you land on their soil.  The U.S. has a walled off section in the Calgary International Airport, and I find it odd and a little insulting.

4:38 pm

I learn there are two types of US customs officials; those that have a desk between you and them, and those that don’t.  Non-deskers are friendly, happy people who make jokes and genuinely make you feel welcome, like most of the Americans I know.  Deskers hate you and your free-range roaming ways.  They are hoping you slip up.  They’re all “Why are you going to Portland?” “Who are you visiting?” “When were you last in Oregon?” “If you’ve never been, how do you know people in Oregon?”  Apparently, these people have never been eight feet away from their desks, and don’t understand how travel works.

4:41 pm

The Americans decide my bag is allowed into the States.  I’m still under consideration.

4:43 pm

I get in line to get in line for the metal detectors.  These are not fast lines, as we have to be careful.  What if I have over 100 ml of liquid in an opaque container?  Zounds!

4:51 pm

I reach the front of the pre-line.  A friendly moustachioed man reviews my boarding pass and asks me to step on a mat.  Nearby, a green arrow lights up, and I’m directed towards the line for a metal detector.  I wander what happens if you get the red arrow?  How does the mat decide?  Do I really want to know?

4:53 pm

My shoes?  We’re still taking off our shoes?  Have there really been shoe bombs?  Is this really a problem that requires continued consideration?  I quietly oblige.  I haven’t been out of Canada in a year, and I’m not waiting another year just because some idiot is afraid my Adidas can take down a jet.

4:56 pm

I get my shoes back.  I try not to look slighted.

5:01 pm

Though I haven’t eaten them in months, I remember hearing you can’t get dill pickle chips in the U.S. I therefore buy a bag.

5:02 pm

I realize a bag of chips won’t survive two flights, probably.  I determine the only responsible thing to do is eat the chips.  They are amazing.

5:38 pm

The Smallest Plane a man should fly on

The Smallest Plane a Man Shoud Fly On.

I don’t like small planes.  I avoid DC 10s whenever possible, and Shogo knew that.  I hate feeling the thing working.  A jumbo jet is like a floating mall, and I never remember that I’m trusting tonnes of metal not to fall out of the sky.  DC 10s wobble, and never let you forget that man is defying nature, at least for now.  I love travelling, but flying makes me nervous.  Planes are basically airborne robots, and I don’t know if you saw Terminator, but robots hate us and will someday rise up and annihilate us.  As long as the plane is big enough, I forget that fact too. 

I’d never seen a Bombardier Q400 before, and I wasn’t pleased.

A Tiny Plane of Death

A Tiny Plane of Death

5:41 pm

They aren’t hooking up the collar, that temporary walkway from the terminal to the plane.  The plane is too short.

5:42 pm

The gate attendant announces the planes overhead compartments are too small for almost anything.  Bags bigger than a laptop will be loaded below, and we will pick them up on the tarmac when we land in Seattle.  I remind myself that the flight is the shortest part of the trip.

5:46 pm

I walk down onto the tarmac, hand over my backpack, and get on the plane.  There’s barely three steps to get to the cabin.  I have to watch my head as I get inside.  The interior is like an elongated Greyhound bus; two seats on either side of a centre aisle, maybe twenty rows worth.

Not How Planes Sould Look Inside

Not How Planes Sould Look Inside

Shogo never would have let me get on this deathtrap.

5:48 pm

I find my seat.  On either side of me is a young man in a well cut business suit.  Both sit upright with their hands resting on their knees.  Their eyes are closed, like they are meditating.  I wonder if they share my fear of the Bombardier.

6:01 pm

The flight crew begins the safety instructions.  When they point out the plane has only one bathroom, I somehow manage to feel even less safe.

6:03 pm

The captain announces it will be 40° outside when we land in Seattle.  I think about global warming.

6:04 pm

It dawns on me that he meant Fahrenheit.

6:05 pm

I finish the math and realize that about 5°C

6:08 pm

The propellers spin up, and the well dressed man across the aisle concentrates harder.  (Yeah, this fucking thing has actually propellers) From the corner of my eye, I confirm the one by the window is doing the same.

6:09 pm

I begin to wonder if these two men are psychokinetically turning the propellers.  Does this tiny plan run on the power of the human mind? If so, why is that less terrifying to me?

6:10 pm

I wonder if the plane is making me crazy.

6:11 pm

I conclude I’m awakened to higher realities.  I wish the psychokinetics the best. Telepathically.

6:13 pm

We sit on the runway.  The psychokinetics are turning the propellers as hard as they can, but we aren’t moving.

6:14 pm

I consider helping them, using my own massive will, but I am wearing a hoodie and a Batman T-Shirt.  I’m not dressed appropriately to assist.

6:15 pm

I become impatient, and help despite my casual clothing.

6:16 pm

We achieve lift-off

6:18 pm

Having done something for four consecutive minutes, I lose interest and stop concentrating.  The plane banks to the left.  The psychokinetic on that side gives me a disgusting look.  I shrug.

6:27 pm

The drink service comes by.  The psychokinetic on the left gets a wine.  I consider asking him if that’s wise, considering his brain keeps us aloft, but decide he’s already mad enough at me.  I say nothing.  I mind my own beer and play Nintendo D.S.

6:00 pm

We change time zones.

6:12 pm

We begin our descent.  The left side is a bit shaky. I blame the wine, and begin to help using my mind, as before.  Drunkokinetic gives me another dirty look.

6:28 pm

We disembark.  I grab my bag from the landing attendants and rush to the terminal.  Who knows what a man who can power a jet engine with his mind might do to my head in a drunken fury?

6:48 pm

I get a burritos in the terminal.  It is as delicious as it is enormous.  God bless America’s obesity.

Thanks, Fatties!

Thanks, Fatties!

7:11 pm

I am unable to finish the burritos.  I am more proud of how far I’ve gotten than how much is left.

7:40 pm

After killing time in the mall that is the Seattle Airport, I board another stupidly small plane.

Seriously, Mall.

Seriously, Mall.

7:43 pm

Three minutes on the plane, and I still can’t spot the psychokinetics that will power this craft.

7:44 pm

Oh shit. Drunkokinetic just boarded the plane.

7:45 pm

Fuck, he’s coming right for me.

7:46 pm

Shitfuck, he has the seat beside me.

7:47 pm

Bastard-ass-cock-shitter-fuck, he asks me if Calgary’s home.  He remembers me.  I steel my mind, in case he tries to blow it up, Scanner’s style.

7:48 pm

He noticed I was writing in my Black Book on the last flight.  I am sufficiently vague about being a blogger, and do not let him see my entries, as I enjoy my currently unexploded head.

7:49 pm

Drunkokinetic turns out to have fascinating ideas about social networking, the internet zeitgeist, and the blogosphere.  While his buzzword vocabulary matches his well cut business suit, he is a fountain of insight.

8:55 pm

This flight passes quickly as I am engaged in the conversation.  Upon landing, I decide against giving him my website.  After all, if he takes offense, how close would he need to be to explode my head?  He found me once, he may track me down again.  I instead pleasantly part ways, brain completely in tact.


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