If I was a stand-up in the 1980's, I would have a bit about airline food.
But I'm a blogger in 2012, so I gotta do a bit about airline travel.
On Monday, I was scheduled to fly home to Los Angeles from Chicago's O'Hare airport. My flight was supposed to leave at 3:17pm. I got an email from United, saying that the flight was going to be delayed until 5:30, but that I should still plan on being there for the 3:17pm departure, just in case.
No word on whether I was supposed to wear clean underwear.
I got to the airport, and upon checking in, my boarding pass said the flight was leaving at 3:17pm. After getting through security, it said 5:30pm.
I asked a customer service person, who told me that the flight may be delayed even longer, but I should stick around the gate area. Just in case.
Four hours of sitting in an airport is not anyone's idea of a fun time, so I sprang for a United Club pass. At least there'd be food and a cocktail. (Chocolate covered raisins and a Campari and soda. I'm not an animal.)
The flight was delayed to 7:15.
Seeing the writing on the wall, I went to the customer service desk who told me that it wasn't looking good, and that they could put me on standby for another flight but that the other passengers on my flight were doing the same thing so all of those flights were overbooked.
I'd like to take a moment and say: I wasn't angry about this. Shit happens. Flights get delayed. I get it.
The woman said if I wanted, I could delay departure until tomorrow. This was a plan I could get behind! She printed me a new boarding pass.
You're all set, I already checked you in, you just go straight to your gate tomorrow and you're good to go.
The SlackFamily was delighted with the one-day reprieve, and the next day I returned to O'Hare again. Breezed through security, and then lined up with Boarding Group 1 because I am a snot who upgraded with miles + cash and there are few luxuries in life that I afford myself but if I can, that's one of them.
I had in hand, a first class boarding pass that was paid for, confirmed and ready-to-go.
So my blue-haired, black-dressed, motorcycle-booted self strode to the front of the line. CHAMPAGNE WISHES AND CAVIAR DREAMS (free bloody marys and pretzels) awaited me just down the runway.
But everything came crashing down when the alarm went off. CODE RED! The woman looked at me and said "are you sure you're supposed to be on this flight?"
I asked for the boarding pass back, and then I pointed out the flight number (correct) my name (correct) my seat assignment (correct.) (I thought that they taught these things at scan-in-everyone's-boarding-ticket school. I just wanted to go home.)
She instructed me to get in line at Customer Service. In Airport Chutes and Ladders, this is the giant slide that takes you from square 87 back to HA HA HA YOU'RE SCREWED.
At the customer service desk, I was told that my boarding pass, reservation, my entire ticket - had been canceled.
Did you cancel the ticket?
Um, I'm here, so that would probably indicate no.
Did someone you know cancel the ticket?
You no longer exist in the system.
Great. So I paid for my ticket, plus extra cash and miles for an upgrade, I checked in, I had my boarding pass in hand, and I did not exist.
I had a ghost ticket.
They finally got me a seat in coach. When I asked if my miles and the cash I paid to be upgraded were going to be refunded, they said "we don't know." I asked if I could perhaps talk to someone who knew and I was told to call the general customer service line.
The customer service people in front of me weren't actually customer service people to handle my customer service issue.
They were ghost customer service.
I was polite. I did not raise my voice. Even if I was a ghost passenger flying on a ghost ticket talking to ghost customer service, I didn't need to be a monster.
I took to Twitter.
I tried to connect with United. Once. Twice. Three times.
United's Twitter is a ghost twitter.
So let's do the math.
A paid-for ticket, a checked-in reservation, a boarding pass: canceled.
Customer service representatives: not empowered to answer customer service questions.
Twitter requests: ignored.
United: THE GHOST AIRLINE
There's been a lot of talk lately - on both sides of the equation, about the TSA's new security measures - Backscatter machines, which take photo of you, but sans clothes or pat-downs, which involve a TSA employee touching you - palms facing forward (it used to be backwards), reaching up the legs, around the genital area, and inside the waistband.
I do not intend (ha ha HA) for this blog post for people on either side of the argument (if you know me, you're well aware of where I fall) but to I asked this question on Jessica's blog and no one answered.
So I'm asking here.
1. Would you let a stranger touch your child's* private areas**?
*Child = boy or girl, less than 13 years of age.
**Using this term because I don't want certain search terms to end up on my blog.
2. What if that stranger was a TSA agent?
Does context matter to you?
Feel free to disagree but keep it civilized - the only person allowed to call people names on my blog is me. I have a delete button and I'm not afraid to use it.
Yesterday, I returned from steamy Atlanta, GA where I ate ribs at Fat Matt's, drank Mai Tais while listening to Tongo Hiti cover Styx's "Come Sail Away," stole the Grand Inquisitor's fez, and entered into a relationship with a sock.
In a word? ARGFest!
I call this series "naked sock with naked (face) girl."
In-between drinking and eating and tomfoolery, there was much discussion about the creative and business direction of transmedia entertainment. It was a privilege to be in the room with players and practitioners, and my head is swimming with how to turn all of these ideas into reality.
I hadn't planned on going, but I'm glad that I did. A lot of my writing - especially the kids' stuff - is about community. Where are my people? Where do I fit? I showed up in the transmedia community post-Valemont like the proverbial new kid. HEY! HEY YOU GUYS! CAN I PLAY? Not only was I invited in their sandbox, but I was given a bucket and a shovel.
Thanks to Brooke for inviting me to be on a panel, and to any and all who I met this weekend. I'll be harassing your inboxes soon.
(You may have to be logged into Facebook to see some of the photos linked above.)
HOLY PHOTOSHOP, BATMAN!
The Mandalay Bay (or the adjoining THEhotel) is hands-down my favorite place to stay in Las Vegas. Maybe the Mandalay Bay secretly knew this, because I received an email yesterday that had the subject line You Have a Friend with Benefits at the Mandalay Bay.
Now, every time I've stayed at the Mandalay Bay, it's been with a boyfriend (then fiance, then husband.) So I think I'd remember if I had a "Friend with Benefits" lurking in a cabana by the Lazy River.
I investigated further.
Aha, the HOTEL ITSELF is the "Friend with Benefits"
So I'm being hit on by a hotel. This would mean a lot more if I was an Objectophile.
You can follow Mandalay Bay for deals on Twitter.
Note: I was not paid for this post. I just like the Mandalay Bay and being hit on by inanimate objects. However, if the Mandalay Bay would like to offer Will and I complimentary stay, who am I to say no? I probably won't take photos of me making out with the building.
There are two types of families in this world:
Those who celebrate farts, and those who don't.
I come from the former. I don't know why, or how it started. I don't imagine bad gas was a useful tool in escaping the Nazis during WWII, but in my family's coat of arms, the unmistakable waves lines of cartoon gas would figure prominently.
Perhaps it's that I have two brothers. Older SlackBrother J. could fart at will, and sadly used that talent for evil. I was thankful when younger slackbrother j. was born, as it created a new victim.
There was the one-cheek move, the silent-but-deadly, the option (where the farter is too lazy to aim their gas, so instead 'grabs' the air and 'throws' the fart at the victim. But I don't know why Older Slackbrother J. called it this since the option is traditionally a running-based offense. But I digress.)
It's not that our family was devoid of the societal pleasantries that rule modern manners. For example, I once got in trouble for saying the words pubic hair at the dinner table, as in, um, there's a public hair in the mashed potatoes. What I learned that day is that it's okay for a teenager to scratch his junk at the dinner table and then reach into a plate of food. It's just not okay to point it out.
(However, at my house the rule is no junk around the food. Thankfully it's been pretty easy to enforce, although now that you've read this I fear my next party.)
My marriage hasn't been ruled by farting. unless you're talking about the dog. Pit bulls fart. A lot. This has a tendency to break the farting ice in a relationship, and although it's totally normal and natural and all that jazz, I still opt to wander off into another room when I have to let one fly. It wasn't in my wedding vows, but sparing my partner the mating sounds of my digestive system is just one of those ways I choose to say I love you on a daily basis.
Of course, occasionally one squeaks out, sneaking up in an unplanned gas attack. There's the was that...? followed by whoops! and ending with uncontrollable giggling. Because farts are funny.
When you can escape them.
Last Saturday found Will and I on Virgin Airlines Flight 781 to Seattle for my friend Amy's wedding. We'd never flown Virgin before, and were entranced by the mini-computers in every seat back. We played video games and watched TV and ordered a fruit and cheese plate. Soon we noticed that there was a chat function - you could create a screenname and chat with other seats!
Even though we were sitting next to each other, we're nerds. Will set up his screen name, the clever twent two, as he was sitting in 22B. I chose stumpy, which was my first username back in 1992.
As I sat hunched over my small QWERTY keyboard, I sensed the air around me getting warmer, with an unmistakable sour stench. I looked over at Will and wrinkled my nose.
Someone farted, I whispered.
I know! I expected him to say. But instead he stared down at his feet.
I'm sorry! he whispered back. I had to!
We're in an enclosed area! I reminded him. You couldn't go to the bathroom? Now we're trapped with your fart! We're a prisoner of gas for the next two hours!
He shrugged and turned red. I turned back to our chat screen and typed:
He turned to his chat screen and typed back:
Will and I are heading back to Chicagoland for SlackMom's annual Russian Christmas Party. Which looks a little something like this:
My husband wraps up the weekend (and the year) here.
Now on your first anniversary, you might be prone to taking a snapshot at dinner with the waiter; handing your camera to a stranger to catch you hand in hand; you might partake of the Venetian's gondola rides and purchase a portrait of you cuddled against your loved one.
Will and I? We took photos of the in-room entertainment:
And oh yeah, tacos:
A very special thank you/shout-out to the SlackParents, who generously paid for our room and dinner at the Four Seasons' Verandah restaurant where we had our wedding reception. Thanks, SlackParents!
-Women's bathroom smells like cake batter.
-Will pays for WiFi.
-Bathroom smells like farts and sunshine.
-No Daisy the Wonderdog.
-Will and Daisy the Wonderdog should move to the Pensacola Airport.
Four months ago, Will and I got married. There aren't many things I can do for 120 days straight, even things I should do like showering (like you haven't missed a day), flossing (see previous) eating (you wouldn't know it to look at me), leaving the house, I haven't done these for 120 days in a row but I have managed to be married each and every day.
Here's few things I've learned being married:
1. Women get angry when they no longer get to see your husband's wenis. I can sympathize. I imagine that must suck.
2. Husbands lie about things like the frequency of poop tubs; however, they also lie about things like telling you you're beautiful when you're filthy and stinky after a shift at the gym, so it all balances out.
3. Your marriage vows say that you get each other's stuff. While he gets things like 3487329423 pairs of boots and a new bed, you get band t-shirts and records and blog friends and stories a-plenty. You definitely win here, so don't blow it.
4. You have to obey your husband. This can be difficult to do, especially when he forces you to sit and watch TV while he pours you a glass of wine and makes dinner and does all of the dishes. However, it's compromises like these that make a marriage work.
Most married people told me that the first year of marriage is the hardest. I don't know, because we're only a quarter of the way through. It's true that the past four months have been difficult, but someone like Will makes it easy. I would loan him out so you could see but then you'd have to marry him and where would that leave me? So you're on your own kids. Sorry.
Later this week we head out to Long Island so I can meet BetheRelatives. However, we're carving out one evening for our studio audience, so If you'd like to see us in action - clothed, mind you - then come on out next Monday night, September 17th to The Magician. We'll be there from 8pm 'til you get sick of our faces. You should be there, because then you can buy us drinks.