Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Flying The 'Not So' Friendly Skies

After a few hours of sleep I was up and on my way to the airport at 4:00am for a 6:00am flight. We're suppossed to be there two hours early for domestic flights right? I guess I should have checked this out. I arrived at the airport at about 4:20am and the airline's check in was not open yet. About 5:00am the kiosks came to life and I got my bording pass. No need to check my bag since I had emptied my travel case of all the shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion I had accumulated during the last week and a half of vacation. I was going to be Mr. Efficient this morning. No need to wait for my luggage at the other end. In and out....Wait a minute. I still had a can of shaving cream. And it was larger than 3oz. If you know where I can get a can of shaving cream that is 3oz or less, let me know. I could do without the shaving cream. I'm still good....ooops. My hairspray bottle is larger than 3oz. But there was probably less than 3oz of spray in it. Should I chance it? Could I do without the hair spray...Mmmmm, better not. So back to the Airline desk which now had a healthy line. I figured it was better to check my bag. Finally back to the concourse. Coins, cell phone, shoes and belt into the little container to go through X-ray. There I was, holding my bording pass in one hand and my pants up with the other. The TSA agent asked for my boarding pass before I could pass through the metal detector. "Hold it boys. This guy's in the wrong concourse. Send his stuff back." What? South Bend Regional Airport has more than one concourse?

Okay, now off to the lesser known concourse. There a little old lady was trying to combine three plastic bags of 3oz liquids into one. As I walked by her and the TSA agent to strip down and go through the metal detector, the TSA reminded me that "she" had to see my id and boarding pass. So I step back into line behind the little old lady shuffling 3oz's of liquid from plastic bag to plastic bag. Finally though I made it through the check point and was able to put myself back together.

Now, I'm sitting in Concourse C, the lesser concourse, and decide to read the little boarding pass holder that the ticketing agent gave me when I checked my carry on bag. Under the CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT it says, '"ticket" means this passenger ticket..."Carriage" is equivalent to "transportation," "carrier" means all air carriers...' Why couldn't they just use "transportation" to refer to "transportation"? Why do they need to use the word "carriage"?

Some examples of it's usage.
Carriage hereunder is subject to the ruls and limitations...
...unless such carriage is not "International Carriage" as defined by...
An air carrier issuing a ticket for carriage...
...whose aircraft is used by carrier for carriage and its agents...
This ticket is good for carriage for one year from the date of issue...
The fare for carriage herunder...

Read it again and this time replace the word "carriage" with "transportation". Wouldn't that be more readable? Do they really need to make it hard to understand?

No nail clippers. Take your shoes off. Take your belt off. Only liquids less than 3oz and then they have to be in a clear plastic bag. Is this really making carriage safer?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Get Motivated

This one's for you Jonathon. (Yes, there actually are people who read my blog.)

Recently I attended a "Get Motivated Seminar". I learned that you have to believe that you already have what it is you want. Why should I be happy in my current position as Director of Administrative Computing? I should aspire to higher levels. How about CIO? Well, Bethel doesn't have a CIO position. (Negative thought, discard) So, here's my plan. I'll start dressing like a CIO by wearing one of those expensive Italian suits. Then, I'll get a Mercedes Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series Coupe which represents the synergy of racecar performance and roadcar driveability. It's a sanctuary of speed and luxury. Oh yeah! Check it out. CLK63 AMG Black Series Coupe

Then I'll buy a home in Granger...wait a minute. I already have a home in Granger. I'll come in to work an hour late, leave for the afternoon to play a round of golf, schedule a trip to Hawaii to check out options for connectivity for a possible future campus. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Harold! You're going to get yourself fired and find yourself in incredible debt." The seminar addressed that. I was able to enroll in a program that would make me incredibly wealthy. Normally the cost would have been $10,000. But I got it for a mere $1,500. Okay, so there's a $600 annual cost. Not to worry, I'm going to be rich! All I have to do is to pick a company that represents something I'm interested in, log on to this web site wait for three green arrows then BUY!, wait for three red arrows then SELL! And keep doing that over and over and over. Hold on. If all I need to know is green arrow, red arrow, why does this company have to be something I'm interested in?

Okay, so I didn't really go for the stock market class. They had a backup. How about real estate? That was another offer that I could pay to learn how to make money.

There were enjoyable and entertaining speakers, but even before it was done for the day, I felt like I had just encountered a bait and switch. Should I have been surprised? The conference cost was something like $50 per office, which included a free lunch (with motivational water), free DVDs from Zig Ziglar (I've yet to look at them) and a "Get Motivated Workbook" with numerous pictures of the seminar promoter with his picture with individuals like Zig Ziglar, Rudi Giuliani, George Bush (41), Naomi Judd and Mother Teresa. Bye the way, the workbook value was $20 (I don't know who would have paid that price for 25 articles and a place to take notes.) After the session by Phil Town on Investing, I felt like I had been sucked into a QVC audience. Then during Peter Lowe's (Seminar founder) session, I felt like I had wandered into an evangelistic service. I wonder how that Amish family attending the seminar felt? I wonder if they feel motivated?

Perhaps it's like going to Goodwill. There's a lot of stuff there I really don't care about, but there is probably something there I could use. I just need to look for it. At a minimum, there's the article "Health & Diet Myths You Need To Know" that I can read for 15 wellness points. (My employer gives me wellness points that I can cash in for money towards my Health Savings Account) Maybe that Amish guy is reading "How To Spice Up Your Marriage In Two Weeks". (I think this is going to require another post.)

Just in case you're worried when you look at the post date and wonder why I was taking time to do this on Mother's day rather than seeing that Barb had a good Mother's day, she is enjoying Mother's day and she's taking a well deserved nap at this moment.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

2 Cheap

My father, who will be turning 77 in a couple of weeks, is looking for a cane that would help give him a little stability for occasions when he might be on his feet for awhile. He alerted Barb and I to keep our eyes out for a wooden cane at garage sales.

I've been checking out Goodwill stores also for canes without much luck. That is until Thursday of this last week. I walked in and just as I had experienced in other stores, there were no canes in the front of this store either. (The front is where they would place them if they had them.) I decided to quickly peruse the store to see if anything else might catch my attention. As I passed the golf clubs, there was a wooden cane with a plastic putting head attached to the bottom, and a plastic golf ball attached further up with a card that said "Old golfers never die, they just loose their balls." With my ability to see more than what is there, I visually removed the plastic ball and card along with the plastic putting head that was attached with a screw. I then visualized a rubber cap on the end, something that I thought I might be able to pick up at a drug store, and voila! A wooden cane appeared before me.

I took a look at the price tag. Four dollars. Not bad. In fact a very good deal, but wait. Saturday was going to be 50% off. That means that the cane would be $2. An excellent deal. Dad would be proud. Dad would never guess how little I paid for it. It was Thursday and Saturday was only a few days away. No one would buy this in the short time that existed between then and Saturday.

Saturday I arrived at Goodwill at a little after 8:00 am. The parking lot was empty. As I drove by the door I saw that it didn't open until 9:00 am. It wasn't a tragedy. It gave me time to run by my office and pick up a screwdriver to remove the putting head. I meant to bring one from home, but forgot.

When I returned at about 8:40, there were a half a dozen cars now waiting for the store to open. I was still not worried. What would be the chance that one of these individuals was waiting to purchase a humorous birthday gift for a golfing buddy? I settled back and caught up on some periodicals related to the informational technology industry.

The time finally arrived. People had exited their cars and were standing outside when the doors open. I sauntered in and headed directly back to the golf clubs. All my eyes could see were metal shafts. What happened to the obvious wooden shaft that I has seen only two days ago? It wasn't here any more. It must have been moved to another part of the store. I wandered the store for the next little while to no avail. It was gone. I lost an excellent deal by being $2 too cheap.