Sunday, May 31, 2009

How much do you weigh?

The above question is never a good question to ask. But it sends a special message when asked by the girl at the Cape Air check-in desk at Logan. If they want to know how much you weigh, rest assured you're getting on a small plane.

I flew up to Plattsburgh and back from Beantown this weekend to visit the folks and used Cape Air. They are currently the largest independent regional airline in the country and they have the largest fleet of Cessna 402s in world. The Cessna 402, pictured above, is a small plane. So small that you get to sit next to the pilot if you want, as there's only one. And you need to hold it on the 1 hour and 20 minute flight as there's no bathroom.

The whole thing is a little funny. It started on Friday as we're lining up to board and the pilot, Chaz, ran by and asked if we could wait as she had to use the bathroom. So you of course wait. It was obvious that many of the people on the flight are regulars as they knew her and were asking about her nights and weekend. She came back from the bathrom and then led us like a 4th grade class down to the plane.

The bags on the plane go in two places. Big bags go in the nose and the smaller bags go in the wing, behind the engine. Chaz actually opened the hatch which is like her window as she was taxiing around Logan to get more air into the plane. We took off in about 1/4 the space a jet would need and we were on our way.

One thing about small planes and getting to see out the front windows is you are a lot more attuned to the space around you. Going through clouds generally produces noticeable bumps, unlike larger planes. Another amazing discovery was the axes on the plane. Most people who fly commercially are used to two basic axes, pitch and roll. Pitch is what happens when your plane takes off and the nose points up. Roll is when you make those big banking turns and one wing dips low as you circle. However yaw was new for me. It was like the plane was climbing straight, but we were pointed at 10 o'clock. Here's a better explanation.

Overall it was a decent flight. A lot of turbulence on the way back. I hit my head several times on the top of the cabin, and I have a bump where I struck the reading light. And the French kid sitting across from the pilot got sick on the final approach. Always something going on when I travel.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tragedy Squared

So I woke up this morning, feeling good. Not only is it Friday, but it is also payday, so you can't really beat that. And then I read this on the Times site.

Off-Duty Officer Fatally Shot by Police

This is a true nightmare. The cop who was killed had only 2 years on and was chasing a guy who he caught breaking into his car. He was stopped by the 25th Precinct Anti-Crime team, and was shot and killed by a guy with 4 years on the job. Normally, when I read of cops who are killed my heart goes out to only side, but in this case I guess it affects me more because I can imagine being on both sides of this. I spent a little under a year on the Anti-Crime team in my precinct.

The guys were tearing off the wounded cop's clothes to try and stop the bleeding when they saw he was wearing a Police Academy shirt. From the article, then then searched for and found his badge. I can't imagine what that must have been like after they saw the shirt.

Either way, I hope Officer Omar Edwards rests in peace and I hope the job will take care of his daughters. And I wish the officer who fired the shots can find some peace at some point. But this is less than 24 hours old and it's still a really sad day for New York City and the NYPD.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Made on Honor, Sold on Merit

There is a local beer that I've found that's new sort of. It's called Narragansett and it's currently being brewed in Rochester, NY under contract with High Falls Brewing. It was at one time the largest brewery in New England. The brand got bought by Falstaff Brewers and they eventually collapsed, probably on account of their piss poor beer.

Since 2006, Narragansett has been available in New England once more and only in the past few months have I made this discovery. They are actually trying to build a new brewery in their original state of Rhode Island and they would like your help. I bought two six-packs this weekend and I got a free tie. I gave it to my friend Steve, because I'm a giver like that.

But my favorite past time while drinking 'Gansetts are to come up with a marketing pitch. It revolves around the concept of Gansett Time. This is pretty much when something horrific happens in your life, and you decide to escape to that mythical place that cheap local beer can take you.

  • Your girlfriend 1 month late and you were thinking of breaking up with her before? It's Gansett Time!
  • Your computer just shit the bed on the flight to make the big pitch in London and lost all your crap? Its Gansett Time!
  • Crapped yourself when you thought you were going to fart? Its Gansett Time!
I could go on, but I think this is better with audience participation. I should mention that I like Narragansett a lot and it's a far better beer than Busch or many of the American lagers. I would actually buy it if they didn't give out ties and inspire awesome slogans.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Paradise Is

So I finally have gotten the time to write about my 18 hours in Hawaii or at least post some photos. The first two photos I took on the beach they took me to before my flight on Monday. Here is what I term the Allen Album cover, with Aloha holding Makena and Noa with Nanea.

Then I had to take a photo of my feet in the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the few touristy things I did.

I hope everyone has a great three-day weekend. For those of you working over the weekend, I thank you. I'll drink to you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

3 down, 1 to go

As I sit in my 3rd Admirals Club in 2 days, I am almost done. I have about 2 hours until my flight back to Beantown and I'm a little tired. Originally, I was hesitant to tell my hosts I was even coming to Hawaii as I thought they might think me mad and I didn't want them to be party to my madness. But I relented after Mikie told me I was nuts. And I'm glad I did.

I know it sounds nuts seeing as how I was on the Island for under 18 hours, but it felt like a vacation. We grilled and drank wine. I got to play with the girls and watch Makena produce incredible amounts of snot. I got to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean. Aloha and Noa even stopped on my way to the airport to allow me to buy a plate lunch, which I'm still eating even though they frown on people eating their own food in the lounge. Oh, and I bought 2 manapua. So good. I saved one. Maybe for breakfast tomorrow.

It was like staying with family and that's always nice. So thank you from the bottom of my heart, Allen clan. I know you said I don't have to get you anything, but that is insanity. I will find a way to make my evening up to you.

There's a flight leaving here at 1:30AM for Hong Kong. I wonder how many miles I'd get for that? Kidding. Mostly.


So I'm in Hawaii at Aloha's house. It's great. I get to meet Makena tomorrow morning, which will be awesome. For allowing me to stay with them for the night, I am eternally grateful. This gratitude requires a gift. My thoughts are: Junior's Cheesecake or gift certificate to fancy romantic restaurant in this tropical paradise.


Sunday, May 17, 2009


So the Dallas Airport, while charming, isn't all that. I'm hoping to get out of this place at 3:30, which is two hours and 10 minutes after I was supposed to. Not sure what the problem was, but I won't breathe easy until I'm in the air.

I will say my theory of vacation destination fashion is again correct. People are dressed in lots of awful clothes. Lots of couples apparently looking forward to their tropical vacation. I just want my water and that's it. I think I'll nap on the flight. Here's hoping the girls aren't asleep by the time I get to the Aloha State.

Yee Haw

So I'm now sitting at the Dallas Admiral's Club and the flight has been delayed to Honolulu, by about 90 minutes. Not a big deal. It just means I'm actually going to be spending even less time in Paradise. I did watch Quantum of Solace on the way over, which was really cool. I also saw Star Trek last night which I heartily recommend to all who like cool effects and a good plot. It will no doubt be the start of a new series, but unlike Transformers, there are actual characters you will want to follow.

It is odd being surrounded by people who are travelling to meet people or attend work functions, as I have always been before. To know that you're basically getting on a plane, just so you can get off the plane for another plane is a little strange. I am very excited about meeting the girls at Aloha's though.

It begins

Here I sit, at the Admirals Club in Boston. My flight to Dallas boards in 20 minutes. I'm still very tired. That bologna sandwich at 1AM while watching the SciFi Channel was a bad idea last night. Maybe I can get some sleep on the plane. I'll check back in again in Dallas.

It's actually harder to pack for only 18 hours than it is for 2 days.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Some will think me clinically insane....

So I'm going to Oahu, Hawaii for 20 hours on Sunday. All for the purpose of preserving the right to get exit row seats on American Airlines. Allow me to explain....

Sunday morning I will be doing what's known in the biz as a Mileage Run. Basically, the gist is you find a flight that gives you the maximum amount of miles for the least amount of money. It works even better if you can transfer to and from airports that are out of the way to boost the miles while keeping the price the same. Here's what my Sunday/Monday will look like:

So now you know what I'm doing, a good question is why? Why would you subject yourself to airports and airplanes for that long? Why would you spend more time in a metal tube than you would on a tropical island. Two reasons:
  1. I got a bunch of miles on American from my trips to Paraguay and through a mileage challenge, got Gold Status. This is the lowest level of status and you can get it flying 25,000 miles in a calendar year. The most important thing about this, asides from the fact that I am shallow enough to like status, is the ability to reserve exit row seats. They are blocked out to all but elites until right before the flight. Exit row makes any flight bearable. American also has a double bonus for all miles flown until June 15, so this doubles my trip earnings.
  2. I like traveling. I love airplanes and airports. I have a quasi-autistic knowledge about the industry and fleets that can amaze my friends and scare away females. So as awful as this trip sounds, I'm actually pretty excited about it. I'm on 757s my whole trip except the 767 from DFW to Honolulu, so it will be nice to be on a widebody.
Who does this? Actually there are a lot of people that do this apparently, if these boards are any indication. What makes me a little strange is that I never fly for work, and most of these guys (rare to find women doing this) are road warriors for their companies. I'm weird. I know this.

My schedule will look like this:


Booking Code
Flight Status
Date & Time
Date & Time

BOS Boston
May 17, 2009
07:45 AM
DFW Dallas/ Fort Worth
May 17, 2009
10:55 AM

DFW Dallas/ Fort Worth
May 17, 2009
01:20 PM
HNL Honolulu/ Oahu
May 17, 2009
04:35 PM


HNL Honolulu/ Oahu
May 18, 2009
12:40 PM
SFO San Francisco
May 18, 2009
08:45 PM

SFO San Francisco
May 18, 2009
11:15 PM
BOS Boston
May 19, 2009
07:55 AM


While I'm in HI, I'll be staying with my friend Mikie's sister, Aloha. She has these two super cute daughters that I'm excited to finally meet. They of course have their own blogs, being sophisticated young ladies. I'm hoping to post from the trip. I will be going in to work on Tuesday morning, after a shower at the Boston Admiral's Club.

All told for a little over $450, I will have accumulated 26,306 miles on this trip, bringing me up to a YTD total of 37,994. Not bad for May. I know. I'm insane.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And I will be selling my CD after the show

Having spent the weekend in Philadelphia, I was reminded of this clip I had heard first and later seen of Bill Burr, a Boston area comic. He was in Philly with Opie and Anthony and a bunch of other comedians on tour. Dom Irrerra, a Philly native and stand-up comedian, was before him on the show. The no-neck crowd booed Irrerra until he left the stage without doing his act.

Burr came out on stage angry that they had booed him and then the crowd turned on him.

What happened next was awesome. Burr essentially stopped doing material and just turned on the hostile crowd and their awful city for 10 minutes. Thank you internets for this. Oh, and super NSFW.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fancy Soap

So the apartment ran out of hand soap and we were using a bar of Dial soap which does not impress guests, so I went out to buy new soap. I decided to treat myself with some Shea Butter soap. I realized today that I had no idea what the hell shea butter was, so I looked it up.

From wikipedia

Shea butter or Shea nut butter is a slightly yellowish or ivory-colored natural fat extracted from fruit of the shea tree by crushing and boiling. Shea butter is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer and an emollient. Shea butter is also edible. It is used as a cooking oil in West Africa, as well as sometimes being used in the chocolate industry as a substitute for cocoa butter.

The shea or karite tree, formerly Butyrospermum paradoxum, is now called Vitellaria paradoxa. It produces its first fruit (which resemble large plums) when it is about 20 years old and reaches its full production when the tree is about 45 years old. It produces nuts for up to 200 years after reaching maturity.

I wouldn't recommend eating it however. I always thought Shea butter was this guy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wedding Weekend recap

So I'm back home and even had time to finish John Adams and do laundry.

On Saturday I married my two friends Alex and Heather. I should clarify that I officiated, as someone always gets the wrong idea, Utah-style. It was a nice outdoor affair, and the weather held up, as you can see from this photo. Funny story. My tuxedo cost $99 from K&G. My shirt and braces cost double that from Nordstroms. However, when I went to put my jacket on, I noticed both the buttons were missing, so I just removed the excess string and called it a "European cut." No one seemed to notice.

After the wedding, people went into Philly for an evening of drinking, talking and laughing. The hotel I was staying at was having a huge Jewish wedding on Saturday night. On the way back to change out of my European tux into more casual clothes, I stopped in on their cocktail hour. I was there long enough the grab a rum and coke and a few pigs in a blanket. Who knew the chosen people and I shared a favorite appetizer. This was the first time I've ever crashed a wedding, but I had this whole back story. I was dating this girl named Sarah Green who went to college with the bride, but I didn't know where that was because this was only our second date. Etc...

This morning saw me up for brunch with my friend Nicole and her friend. And then a 6 hour drive. But the 6 hours were clearly worth it because I had two chili dogs from this heavenly establishment. I paid for it, but it was totally worth it.

I had a good time at the wedding and it proved my hypothesis that weddings can be incredible or mediocre. At their best, like this one was, it brought together great friends who in turn met other people's great friends and new friendships were formed. This one guy and I hit it off incredibly well and I am going to look him up when I'm down in NYC. His brother is a cop and he's insanely funny, so it was a match from the start. But I really enjoyed meeting all of their friends and sincerely do hope that I get to see many of them again.

There's that saying that you can never have enough friends. I think that is true until you get to the point where so many friendships are hard to maintain which becomes the limiting factor. Facebook can act as a force multiplier, but it's not real. I will say you can never have enough great evenings of conversation, laughter and fellowship. Regardless of what happens going forward with these folks, I will always have that.

Furlough Days Taken: 1/3

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Wedding Day

It's a beautiful morning in Washington Crossing, PA. It was supposed to thunderstorm this morning, but so far the rain is holding off. I'm marrying a couple, Alex and Heather, at 11:30 this morning. It will be a great day no matter the weather really.

The mother of the groom did hug me extra tight when I left her house last night and said: "You aren't going to do anything crazy are you?" I smiled and then explained I planned to do balloon animals for the first 15 minutes, after the dance spectacular.

I'll write more later.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

That guy

So I went to a wedding this past weekend in lovely Meredith, NH. It was a work wedding so I didn't know that many people. It was a great wedding, lots of good people and awesome appetizers at the cocktail hour. The music was a little loud. The DJ enjoyed yelling a lot.

So at the end of the reception, there was an after party at the Bride and Groom's hotel room. So I went over and there was a bunch of people there and music and good times. Flash forward to 3AM. I had my hand in a bag of Funnyuns when I took a quick head count in the room. Those present were:
  • Bride
  • Groom
  • Me (with hand in bag of Funnyuns)
Holy Crap. I'm that guy. So I remove my hand from the Funnyuns bag and I'm all, "Hey....I just realized that I'm the only one here and this is your room and your wedding night. So I'm going to go now. You two do whatever it is you want to do, and congratulations again."

I grabbed a Bud Light for the walk home and left. In fairness, the guests before me left probably 2 minutes before I did. It wasn't like I was telling cop stories drunk at people who kept checking their watch. Let's hope this doesn't happen next weekend as I'm actually going to be marrying that couple.