Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Seattle's clean over belly

I have to say, I have always wondered what people do alone in their hotel rooms when they think no one is looking. For example, I tend to either spin straw into gold, then melt it back down into straw again to create valuable straw, or run impressively scientific experiments using chemicals, elements, atoms, and magic.

For the first time, I got a not-exclusive look into what other, less-tall people do. You see, I went to Seattle last week to conduct some important business, and the hotel I boarded in had a view of at least 150 hotel rooms that I could see directly into. Behold the images.

What were people doing? As it turns out; incredibly sinister activities. I saw one shifty eyed fellow doing something on his computer, while fully dressed! You just know he was plotting three, maybe four devious schemes. Another guy was just laying in his bed watching TV. He was probably dead. A third man was murdering orphan children. I didn't tell anyone because I'm sure he had his reasons.

Pretty dastardly considering we were all in Seattle. What a terribly city. It was so clean that I'm sure they had to fire the entire sanitation department. And a monorail? Who does Seattle think it is? Some kind of awesome future city? If you mix all the best parts of New York and San Francisco, you get Seattle, which is why it's so terrible. Nobody wants good things. Good things are for suckers. If nothing sucks then where does the ambition to be greater come from? Humanities general striving for equality and health? Hell no. I saw what went on in those hotel rooms. Pure evil. And you can too, just stay at the Westin Seattle on a high floor, wait for darkness (which comes around 2pm), and behold the terrible good Seattle brings out in its visitors.



Friday, December 7, 2012

TSA pre check




How to know if you're a terrorist:

1) Do you enjoy not being dead?
2) Are your beliefs so frail that the mere existence of other beliefs threaten you?
3) Is crashing a plane on your bucket list (albeit the last item on your bucket list, or perhaps, the title of your bucket list)?
4) Do you make bombs that require over 100ml of liquids that you refuse to store in a clear plastic bag?

If you answered 'no' to any of the above questions then you're very stupid. The TSA know that 101ml of explosive liquid is exactly enough to bring down a plane, but anything below that is not very interesting. They also know that terrorists, when given a choice, will always choose to wait in line at the TSA check point with a nude body scanner, and avoid the older metal detectors due to their sundry beliefs. They also know that anyone who travels enough to attain various elite levels with airlines are much less likely to interfere with a flight.

Trust me, as someone who spends almost every waking moment of their glorious, meaningful life attempting to either get on or off an airplane, the last thing I want to do is to make my own life more difficult (although, one day, one of us is bound to get over looked for an upgrade one too many times and snap), which is why I'm a fan of this new TSA pre check program.

I believe its only available to very high elite members on certain airlines for now, which will probably change in the coming year. As a 1K with United, I became eligible a while ago but only very recently took advantage of it (since its not available at every airport). I received an e-mail about it back in February asking if I was interested in participating. I clicked "ultrayes™" (which is a button only available to me) and was brought to a page that said "Thank you for applying for the TSA pre check program. You will not ever receive any confirmation from United Airlines or the TSA that you have been accepted. You will just have to go to the airport and see. We change our minds about whether you're allowed to use this program every day, based on secret government criteria such as the color of your skin and which religion you favor the most. So you're just going to have to wing it. Sincerely, AMERICA!"

My first experience with it went thusly:

I arrived at Terminal C at the Newark airport, not particularly any less irritated at being that far into New Jersey than normal, looking for security check point 3 where the elite access is. Upon arrival I found the super special TSA pre check line which was manned by a security guard with a special scanner. The guard scanned my ticket and ushered me into the Pre Check line which was completely empty (this is the only way to know if you can use this line. If, for some reason, you were denied that day, you'd be ushered into the normal elite line.) The crowd of riff raff still waiting in the security line that I breezed past gave me either incredibly dirty looks or looks of radiant awe. I was informed that I did not have to take my shoes off, nor my belt, nor my jacket, nor did I have to take my laptop out of my bag. I simply dumped my bags onto the x-ray conveyor and walked through a metal detector that probably wasn't even on. In fact, I doubt it was a metal detector, it was probably a metal obscurerer™. It took seconds. I couldn't believe it. I got through security so fast that I had too much time to kill before my flight was to board so I decided to look into various religions and faiths that would correctly support the idea that I am superior to others.

I like this program. I don't care if the TSA is now acutely aware of exactly where I've flown and how many times, I don't care if they know my name and date of birth, and I don't care that they're a wasteful and fascist organization with access to every detail about me and my superior life.... {;;ERROR;;}invalid hex_accountoverride/{TSAindex33526}
The TSA is a necessary and efficient organization that deserves the trust and compliance of all travelers. I fully support their benevolent mission and selfless defense of aeroplanes. Sincerely, particularly muscular man [[;;INDEX3224GGAABB;;}/[codex7]\-(symbolsnumberscomputerjargon)-=/9(why...whywasiprogrammedotfeelpain)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Elite status demotion

I think at this point it is safe to say that I win at flying. As an avid fan of my blog, you have no choice but to agree. I always find the shortest security line, I always get on the plane first, and I always get upgraded to first class. If flying were a game of tennis, my score would be 45-15, or 62-(-2) or 154-π... nobody understand how tennis matches are scored, it is purposefully confusing so that you don't know who wins until the end... and even then you think its over but they then play again as if nothing ever happened.

How do I keep winning at flying you ask? (don't pretend like you didn't ask, I heard you ask just now through my computer). My elite status is how. For one year I lived life as a Premier 1K flying on United Airlines. The only way to have a higher status on United is to be invited to their special Global Services program which is reserved for the top X percent of spenders. I used the letter X to indicate a mysterious percentage that isn't published by United, and probably can't even be calculated using any of the poor people math we were all taught in school (there is a secret rich people math that is one step above calculus and can only be achieved using specially designed gold-plated calculators).

Sitting so high on my elite status mountain, I've forgotten what its like to be less superior. Which is why the travel gods may have chosen me to suffer for the sins of other 1Ks (i.e. getting upgraded before others, making non-elite members lie down in a line to form a special human carpet for our boarding process, and having our own special telephone number that connects us to Jesus, who actually has the power to make changes to your reservation). Perhaps life is too good as a 1K for someone like me. Which is why I can kiss it goodbye.

This year, I will not fly the 100,000 miles necessary to maintain my status for next year. I will just barely get 75,000 miles. This means a downgrade one elite level to Premier Platinum. What does this mean for me, and via the transitive property society as a whole?

1) I will board second on the airplane, instead of first.
2) I will be considered for an upgrade only after all the 1Ks have been considered for each flight.
3) I will receive a 25% less bonus on earning award miles.
4) United Airlines will kiss my ass even less than it already doesn't
5) Some dumb fifth thing

The upside is that I will be able to qualify for myself the difference between being a 1K and a Premier Platinum, and thusly be able to share that knowledge with you. Like I said, this will be a lesson to me and to all my followers. Perhaps a lesson of humility, or more likely, a lesson of extraordinary irritation and disappointment. Although, that might be the point. At least I'm not a lowly Premier Gold! Yuueeeckkk. Such a poor, trashy folk those third tier elite members are, with their 50% reduction in bonus, third-in-line boarding and upgrade priority, and low class sensibilities.

Enjoy.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Secret Code


Secret code: 52H9ZNBN2QSB
52H9ZNBN2QSB



IGNORE THIS POST. STOP READING IT NOW. ITS FOR SECRET PURPOSES.

I will only reveal the secrets further down the post.

























WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? I TOLD YOU NOT TO READ THIS POST. THERE ARE NO SECRETS IN THIS POST, OR IN THE WORLD IN GENERAL. ALL IS WELL. REMAIN CALM AND VISIT LONDON.

Ohh shiney

I'd like to start off this blog post with one of my favorite lines from a song carefully written in the 1990's;

"Tag team back again, check with yo' wreck and lets begin"
- Tag Team 

When it comes to giant, hypercomplex™ machines that carry hundreds of people at 500 mph 35,000 feet in the air, your standard life-loving human might find new shineyness to be a good thing.

Lets face it, some airplanes you fly in today have been around since the 1670s and even require the same, deep religious devotion of that time to keep yourself calm.

I should note that a lot of you non-business travelers and riff raff alike probably fly JetBlue or Virgin America, which are all brand new planes. Well, I'm not impressed by your willingness to spend LESS money to achieve the SAME (or even greater) amount of luxury I can get from flying on United. America isn't about spending less, is it? United has been using the same dirty old planes for longer than most of us have been alive, and they're damn proud of it. These planes are so old and dirty that I once saw one sitting on a park bench with snot running down his nose, greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes... AQUALUNG. But even I have to admit that when I boarded this 737-800 two weeks ago at Newark for a flight to Fort Lauderdale, I was inappropriately excited for the new shineyness that I was presented with upon boarding.





Look at how blue those lights are! Why is it that neon ( actually, its probably xeon or cold cathode ) lights make everything look modern and cool? When taking off and landing, the lights change color! Ooooooo ahhhhhhh (ultraimpressed™).

"But your highness of Travel, Virgin America has had lights like that for as long as..."

Shut up. SHUT UP. Look at the new plane that I flew in, not whatever YOU flew in. ME.

And you know what? United had the foresight to NOT include a single video monitor of any kind, anywhere on this new plane. You know why? Because flying is supposed to not be any fun. You are supposed to hate it because when you've landed, you feel like you have accomplished something, like you've been through some hardship that makes you come out stronger and better. Also, United certainly does not want to make it easy for themselves when building new planes either. They promised DirectTV in the back of every seat on every plane, but they decided this new plane and its passengers weren't ready. So, instead of putting TV monitors in this plane to match the rest of their upgraded fleet, they decided not to take the easy route, like a true American company (not to be confused with American airlines which is an ultraAmerican™ company having already achieved the coveted and very patriotic 'bankruptcy' status).

Well played United.

Enjoy.


HILARIOUS AFTERNOTE™:

When I looked up the lyrics for Tag Team's seminal classic "Whoomp There It Is", I discovered that every single song lyrics website has slightly different lyrics for my favorite line in the song which was quoted above. Behold;

1)
"Yeah Tag Team music comin' straight atacha
That's me DC the Brain Supreme
And my man Steve Roll'n
...
Tag Team back again check it top
Wreck it - let's begin

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/"
2)

Yeah Tag Team musicIn Full EffectThat's me DC the Brain SupremeAnd my man Steve Roll'n
...Tag Team back againcheck and direct and let's begin


source: http://www.lyrics007.com/Tag%20Team%20Lyrics/Whoomp%20There%20It%20Is%20Lyrics.html

3)


Yeah Tag Team musicIn Full EffectThat's me DC the Brain SupremeAnd my man Steve Roll'n...Tag Team back againCheck its records let's begin
Source: http://www.metrolyrics.com/whoomp-there-it-is-lyrics-tag-team.html

4)


yeah, tagteam music in real effect
thats me dc that regiens supreme
and my man steve rolland
...
tagteam back again
check it trek it lets begin

Source: http://artists.letssingit.com/69-boyz-lyrics-whoomp-there-it-is-77hzrp2

Monday, September 10, 2012

Goldier than a gold on gold night

If you've been reading this blog over the years, you should know by now that I'm Goldy™, which is a term recently coined (with a gold coin) by the powers of earth, fire, water, wind, and heart, to define my elite status across multiple award programs.

Recently, I achieved Gold status with Starwood Preferred, a hotel chain that includes the Westin, Sheraton, and others. It was much easier to achieve SPG Gold than it was to achieve Hilton Honors VIP Gold, but I seriously enjoy the fact that until 2013, I will be Gold with both programs. Throw in my Hertz Gold Five Star status and you've got GOLDY™.

Starwood recently sent me a Gold welcome packet that ingolded™ (instead of the word 'included', which I no longer have to use) some intriguing gifts and nicely printed materials.


On the right is the letter telling me how excellent I am, with my new Gold card glued to the top. The letter, before it even says "Dear Aaron", states the undeniably true statement "You're golden". That is correct, piece of paper that came in the mail. How did you know?

On the top left is a nicely printed booklet containing no new information. All the information in that booklet is available on the website, but you know, as a Goldy™, I may not have time to use the internet to seek out information. The bottom left is my favorite gift. Its a piece of paper with four tickets with perforated edges that can be removed and used. What are they for? They're "Thank You" tickets that I am supposed to give to employes for outstanding service.........

.........



.........
I'm sorry


.....


WHAT? Why are you sending this to me? Why is the gold packet filled with nearly useless yet thick pieces of paper (that aren't made of actual gold)? I know that it surely can't be filler material to make me feel special without actually providing anything to make me feel special about. Thats not how you treat golden Goldys™. Why do I need to hand these to employees? Why do I only get four of them? After four, have I reached the maximum amount of awesome service I can receive? Do you really expect me to remember to carry these around and hand them out? Wouldn't it be better for everyone if I could just compliment them through e-mail or on a website form instead of literally limiting the number of compliments I can dole out? What if a staff member provides me excellent service over the phone? Am I supposed to use a mechanical photo facsimile machine?

Some free drink tickets or even a hand drawn picture of the Large Hadron Collider would have been more relevant to my Gold Status. Thank me, not yourselves!!!!

Enjoy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lofty

I'm pretty sure your car sucks. Most do I've discovered. One of the nice things about traveling too much is that you usually have to rent cars, and in the process, you get to drive a lot of different types of vehicles. Here is an incredibly incomplete list of lame cars I've rented and driven recently:

1) Ford Taurus
2) Chevy Malibu
3) Chevy SVU thing
4) Chevy Aveo
4) Mitsubishi Eclipse

But nothing beats the lethargy of the car I rented from Hertz most recently. When I arrived at the facility, I found my name on the Gold board and proceeded to the stall which had my car. In that stall was a Chevy Malibu. But that car didn't feel like it befitted a man of my rank, status, size, and punching ability, so I wandered over to the Gold Choice area. This area is a strip of maybe 50 lots with random mid-sized cars in it that you can just pick in lieu of what you rented, for free. Each car in that lot however was either a Chevy Malibu or a Ford Thiscarsucks. I was about to just get into the original car I rented when I noticed a car that was different from the rest. It was a Volkswagen Jetta. I've never driven a Jetta, but I do own a Volkswagen GTI at home which is quite possibly the best car I've ever driven in my life and several other people's lives. Naturally, I assumed that since this car was also a Volkswagen then it would be superior in power and handling to the other vehicles that I could have chosen from.

Holy crap was I ultrawrong™. The car was the slowest, most poorly put together piece of garbagechrist I've ever farted in. Slamming the gas pedal to the floor produced an acceleration curve that was so bad that it was actually negative, meaning the car was so slow it actually just went in reverse. It felt like more than one emergency break was on at all times. I estimated it to have a 2 cylinder engine with a 4 gram displacement producing half of one horse power. I think even incredibly old ladies would become severely frustrated at the lack of power this car had, and they have to contend with broken hips and snotty grand children who have no respect for the home country or french toast made with goat!

But, I do have to admit it got me from point A to point Ω (which is a point only I'm allowed to go to). One of the points in there was the hotel I was staying at.  A new hotel chain, as part of the Starwood group called A-Loft. Its a swanky, modern, and freshly built hotel with all the amenities commonly found in 3 and a half star or a above hotels. Gym, pool, place to buy food and drink, HD television and notstains™.  The rooms have a very modular, modern feeling to them. Instead of providing you separate little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash, they have dispensers mounted to the wall in the shower for you to enjoy. The television comes with a convieniantly-located connection hub to connect external video devices such as your computer or iPad, and the shower door features a lovely gap at the bottom so that water can collect wonderfully on the bathroom floor.

Enjoy the photos below:






Tuesday, August 14, 2012

See me naked

When was the last time you saw a full grown naked man? You know what, don't answer that question. Its not even relevant to this post. I'm really not sure why I asked it, even if it was rhetorical.

I should ask you this question instead; do you enjoy having construction workers looking at you through your window at your hotel?

I don't know about you, but I do some pretty amazing, and secret science projects while I am in my hotel room alone, and its pertinent that the information and conclusions I'm drawing don't fall into the wrong hands. "But how can your science be that pertinent and sophisticated if someone could draw conclusions simply by watching you perform the experiments and not actually see any data or statistical analysis?" you might ask. But if you have to ask then then you're probably an actual scientist and you should be in your lab working on science. GET BACK TO WORK YOU LAZY HEATHEN. If you really enjoy voyeurism and nudity that much, then you should probably watch some dirty televisions shows like Annie & Brie, but if you're curious as to why I'm talking about this then read on.

When I arrived at my hotel yesterday, I was informed that there would be construction crews working on the outside of the building from 8am to 6pm, and if I didn't want them to watch me sleeping then I'd better close the curtains. To compensate travelers for this nuisance they are offering 50% off breakfast and free internets.

Now, some of you may or may not know that I have recently switched from Hilton Honors to Starwood Preferred hotels. This was not an easy jump since I had achieved VIP Gold with Hilton Honors many years in a row. I switched for a number of reasons:

1) It took a ridiculous amount of time to accrue enough Hilton Honors points to actually use them for a night at a hotel.
2) The hotels were ok at best, and rarely was I upgraded to a spectacular room.
3) I just didn't feel like they tried very hard to keep me coming to their hotels.

So I switched. I made Starwood Preferred Gold very quickly, and am now enjoying the benefits. The hotels are nicer (in general, but I have stayed at a few Sheratons that were less than savory, or UNSAVORY™.... I actually sued Webster for the trademark to that word, so don't you go thinking to yourself "pfft oh my god thats already a word, so lame, you can't ™ that", well I can and I ULTRADID™) and your points go a lot further than they do at Hilton.

But I digress. What frustrates me often is a hotel's assertion that it can charge you for internet. Internet is like local phone calls, its a utility not a privilege at this point. Charing for it is like charging for... well, I was going to say oxygen but thats a bit extreme considering you'd die if you couldn't afford to buy oxygen and our country would NEVER put someone's health at risk just because they were poor.... so I shall say its like charging for air conditioning.

But I digress... again... and well. The hotel room I got was fancy, despite the fact that the balcony was under construction and there was a risk that a construction worker was going to be walking around on it.








The hotel room was actually several rooms, including a kitchen, walk-in closet, walk-out closet, separate bathroom and living room. It had an excellent view of another building and plenty of sunlight in the morning that was completely negated by the fact that I had to close my blinds for privacy. THE SUN WAS NEGATED. Bet you didn't think that was possible? Well, with Starwood Preferred Hotels, it is. If you're curious, the hotel is the Atlanta Perimeter Hotel and Suites. The directions to the hotel are as follows:

1) Fly to Atlanta
2) Put in the address of the hotel into your GPS
3) Drive for a while and listen to incredibly awesome music
4) Drive by a mall and have your GPS tell you that you've arrived
5) Pull into the parking lot of the mall, looking around confused
6) Drive around a bit more, then finally take out your telephone and locate the hotel on Google Maps
7) Drive in a couple more circles
8) Find a street you think is correct and drive down it, turn left at what you assume to be a road that will eventually lead to the hotel
9) locate hotel and drive in a circle or two until you find the front of the building
10) think of a tenth thing

Enjoy.


Monday, July 30, 2012

International Awesomeguy

Are you as cool as me? Probably not, but here is a quick test to see if you are indeed as cool as me:

1) Do your ears hang low?
2) Can you wave them to and fro?
3) Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow?
4) Can you throw them over your shoulder like a continental shoulder?

Did you answer yes to all of the above questions? DIDN'T THINK SO.

Don't worry, there are other tests to confirm your relative level of coolness. For example, you can judge your coolness by how you're treated on a trip from Toronto to New York's premiere airport; LaGuardia.

As some of you may or may not know, Canada is a (surprisingly) sovereign and independent nation. When you travel from a foreign country to the United States, you always have to pass through both the border patrol/department of homeland security and customs. This usually occurs at your destination airport in the United States. However, there a situations in which you can clear customs and passport control before you even board the plane, at your origin. Flights from Toronto to America qualify for this role reversal probably because an airport like LaGuardia is way too cool to have the facilities for any kind of complex security zoning or passport control.

When you arrive at the airport, you're first put into a very long line for a passport check. The agents who check your passport are American, and have been trained in the mystical art of "inactive listening". My conversation went thusly:
Me: Hello
Agent: Why were you in Canada?
Me: Business
Agent: What company do you work for?
Me: (I told him the name of company)
Agent: What do they do?
Me: Ohhh well we do a lot of video solution engineering and software/hardware sales.
Agent: Who were you visiting in Canada?
Me: A reseller
Agent: Why were you visiting a reseller?
Me:..................... to resell our products

At this point, I was so taken aback at how stupid that question was that I actually began to get nervous and seriously consider that maybe I wasn't actually in Canada for work but that I was there as a secret spy for enemies both foreign and domestic...

After getting waved through, I was on my way to the security line when another agent, who was randomly walking by, stopped me and asked me the same dumb questions. I told him the same thing I told the other agent; the truth. I really can't imagine an individual who was traveling specifically for dubious reasons would, at that point, decide that the truth would set him free. But theater is theater.

I finally arrived at the security line and was appalled at how long it was. To the side was an elite line which had almost nobody in it. Since I have the highest possible status with United Airlines, which is a Star Alliance partner with Air Canada, I just assumed I has access to that line. Why? Because I am that cool. But it turns out I am even cooler than I thought. You see, that line is only for Air Canada elite members, not Star Alliance elite members. They didn't want to bother someone as cool as me with such a low class line. Cool people don't need their own security line.

After I got through my awesome security line, I found a sign for the local Canadian version of an elite lounge. Even my own coolness has limits. I knew I wasn't cool enough to NOT be admitted into this elite lounge, even though I have membership at technically a different lounge. It turns out, unlike the security line, Star Alliance lounge membership gets you into any Star Alliance lounge. And what a lounge. This lounge was so vastly superior to the typical United Club that I seriously contemplated moving to Canada.



Behold the food spread, and look at the premium liquor options! Unlimited free Grand Marnier in a glass that has been rimmed with brown sugar? No matter how you interpret the previous sentence, the fact remains that this lounge was fly as a dragon (that can fly, not those stupid ground-only dragons).

So maybe you are too cool for elite lounges, but if someday you find your coolness waning, and decide that you're actually too cool to be cool, then come get drunk in the Air Canada elite lounge at the Toronto Pearsons International Airport.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Delayed into oblivion 2

My last, incredible, blog post about being stuck at the Houston airport was written in the middle of the day. What I didn't expect was that the worst of it was still in the future, and I am, right now, still in Houston. I have been delayed in Houston for about 10 days now, waiting on a flight back to LaGuardia.

Parts of that story are false.

Although I did eventually make it back home, it wasn't for another 12 hours. That flight I had had from Houston to LaGuardia was delayed two more times until around 6pm.




At 6pm, I was sitting in the red carpet club, purposefully one or two feet away from the United agents when I got the text that my flight was cancelled. I jumped up with excellent form and gusto and somehow ended up only being second in line for the gate agent (should have been first grrrrr). I was already booked on a flight to LaGuardia the next morning at 7am, but that type of stuff is for the weak and stupid. I asked the gate agent if I could instead get onto the LaGuardia flight that was leaving at 7pm. I was bummed that I was giving up my first class seat, but at this point, I just wanted to get back to my giant mansion that I live in with all my money.

So I exit the lounge and head towards the opposite end of the terminal to wait for this flight. One of those little carts was driving by so, for the first time in my life, I jumped on and asked the guy if get could take me to concourse E. Have you ever ridden on one of those carts? They're surprisingly satisfying. And I always wondered how they pick the people that get to ride on them. Sometimes they are elderly, other times they're not. But never in my life have I ever been presented with a cart ride. So there's that.

I got to the E gate and was playing around with the United app on my telephone when I noticed something really neat. You can actually look at the upgrade list! First you open the app, then you press on some buttons and enter in some information, then you do this thing where you press additional buttons and.... you can figure it out on your own.

Anyway, I noticed that I was the top of the list for upgrades, and sure enough I got my first class seat back. But, was it all for naught? Scientists say "yes... and also, please let me get back to my important research and stop asking incredibly inane and stupid..." that specific scientist abruptly stopped talking at that point when I punched him in the neck.

So I was sitting on this gate, irritated that I was going to get home so late, but glad that I was getting home at all. "Oh is that gladness in your heart dear sir? Please allow us to clear that right up with some ULTRADESPAIR™"! This is what I picture United saying to its passengers at Houston that day.

The flight was about to board when the gate agent announced that they didn't have a pilot or co-pilot for this flight and that United was sending some at 9pm. So the flight was delayed to 9pm. Despondent and irritated, I went to a different United Club and got drunk.

Finally 9pm rolled around just in time for me to get a text from United stating that the flight was cancelled.



I get to the gate agent at the carpet club and ask them if there is anymore flights to LaGuardia that evening. I knew the answer would be no. So my follow up request was to be flown to Newark. As much as the airport sucks at life for being so inconvenient to get to and from for New Yorkers, it was better in my mind than getting in the next morning to LaGuardia. So the agent booked me on the last flight out of Houston to Newark.

Again, I was loathed to give up my first class seat, but sometimes a guy just has to get home to his mansion and moneys.

Waiting at the gate for the Newark flight, I nearly started laughing hysterically when that flight was delayed as well due to "computer problems". Are they running Windows ME? Just board and fly the plane for Rom's sake! I was number 1 on the upgrade list again, but there were no empty seats in first class. When they eventually started boarding, I was naturally the first in line. I walked on the plane and the flight attendant looked at me, then turned to the pilot in the cockpit and said "We have our first passenger!". I'm not sure what that meant but it didn't matter. I walked humbly to my coach seat in the economy plus cabin; my place of birth as it were.

I put my bags in overhead bins and what not, took out my book and waiting for the rest of the riff raff to board the plane. After about 20 minutes the plane was full and bustling.

But then a flight attendant came down the aisle, right to my row, turned to me and asked me if I'd like to sit in first class. I said "..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ok".

The man next to me said "its your lucky day". That was incorrect.

I grabbed my bag from the overheard bin in coach and marched up to first. The bins were all closed, and I began to panic. I can't have my bags so far back in the plane, when the plane lands and deboards, I'd have to sit there and wait for everyone to get off before I could deplane. That would not do. So I started trying to jam my suitcase into the overheard bin in first class when a flight attendant approached me with an attitude saying "sir, sir, excuse me sir, that won't fit". Instead of fighting with him, which I almost did, I just sighed and leaned my head against the bin for a minute, just to take in the ridiculousness of it all. The flight attendant must have seen or understood my despair because he then found another bin in first class, asking another passenger if he could move their bag, just so he could fit mine in. I was very grateful.

I did eventually make it home to Newark... by 1:30am. Got into my bed by 3am. And wrote a nasty letter to United by 10am.

A nice epilogue to this story is that United eventually wrote me back and deposited 10,000 miles into my account. Thats not a terribly large amount but its not terribly small either.

My advice to you if you find yourself in a similar situation is the following:

1) Have a club pass to the elite lounge, the agents in there are much more helpful and you don't have to wait in any line to get their help.
2) Don't fly ever, at all, on any airline, for any reason... especially if the flight involves LaGuardia.


Enjoy.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Delayed into oblivion

The word delay connotes such... craptasticry™. Mostly because there isn't much to do about it, even if you're a powerful, super muscular half-Jew. Whats frustrating is when delays pool together to form one large ultradelay™that causes such frustration that you just want to ball your hands into fists so hard that they become denser than a black hole, and then use them to punch the concept of delays in the face and groin.

For further clarification, here is a picture of a my fist:

 

My flight to San Antonio this week had to be rudely interrupted by a connection through Houston. The leg from LaGuardia was delayed, due to a crew getting in too late the night before. You see, the FAA requires that flight crew get a certain number of hours rest before resuming work after a certain number of hours of work. So, they had to delay the flight in the morning so that the crew could get an extra hour of rest. I actually got an automated phone call from United to inform me of this at 2:30am the night before my flight. So, a FAA requirement for a passenger's required number of hours of rest is clearly not as high as the crew. Thanks United, I'm glad you woke me up to tell me that I'd have a miserable day. When I got to LaGuardia, there was another flight to Houston that originally was scheduled to depart at the same time as my flight was pushed back to. Naturally, I got in line at the wrong gate and watched as the flight I was supposed to be on started to board. I asked the gate agent several times if I was in the right line and she kept saying yes. But she was very incorrect. I finally used my own brains and noted the flight number on my boarding pass matched the flight they were boarding. DAMMIT. I missed my chance to board first, and I was very angry about it. It was too early in the morning to board with riff raff. Fortunately, there was still bin space in first class for my awesome bag - I was lucky.

And I did. My first leg got in 10 minutes before my next flight was to depart. Fortunately I was in the front of the plane so I was able to deplane (weirdest word ever) quickly. What was really just fangreatastic™ was the fact that the gate we pulled into and the gate my next flight was leaving out of were at, literally, the opposite ends of the airport. This is not an exaggeration. Opposite ends. Here is a picture:


The green arrow represents a distance of what I estimated to be 14 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. I sprinted as much as I could, dropping to a fast walk after the first 4 minutes due to ultrafatigue™(a level of fatigue only I may experience).

Needles to say I made it. I boarded the plane, drenched it sweat, only to find that the bin space in first class was full! And I was in the first row, which meant no space for my laptop case under a theoretical seat in front of me. So I angrily shoved other people's inferior affairs out of my way and jammed my bag in above my seat and sat down with a look of anger and hatred in my eye (that way no one would bother me for shoving their luggage away). I was sweaty, very large and muscular, and had a mean scowl about my visage... no one messed with me.

Now its Friday and it is time for me to fly home. Naturally, my flight from San Antonio to Houston was delayed, then delayed again, then delayed a third time. The agent in the elite lounge was very helpful in booking me onto an alternative flight, and since I was going to miss my connection, booking me on an alternative flight for my leg from Houston to LGA. So, my first alternative flight then got delayed. But I did make it to Houston. Now, my second alternative flight has been delayed.

I am assuming that I will eventually make it home to New York if the great travel gods will allow it. I can't help but be reminded of Nixon going to China. Mostly because I actually just saw him get in line to board a flight to China. "Hey, aren't you former president Richard Nixon"? I asked him.
"yes".
"Where are you going Nixon"?
"China".
"Oh"............

.....
......


..........


.......
"Wait, aren't you supposed to be dead"? I asked. He just put his pointer finger up to his lips and said "Shhhhhh" and then spun around to face backwards, and began moonwalking down the jetway.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Broken Life

They say that no man is an island. I think thats a stupid saying because obviously a human male cannot possibly also be a tract of land completely surrounded by water not large enough to be called a continent.

Actually, that saying is 100% correct. No man IS an island... because its impossible. So why even bother saying it?

I think it has to do with suitcases. You see, no traveling man is NOT a suitcase. Thats right, I'm a suitcase. At least, I can be defined by it. So imagine my extraordinary irritation, or extraoritation™, when this happened to my suitcase about 4 months ago:


Excellent. This occurred while I was at an airport making a connection, and it just so happens that this airport was mostly carpeted, therefor making it impossible to wheel my luggage around without a handle. I started off by attempting to simply carry my suitcase around, but after a while, that sucked worse than Jackie Chan's retirement announcement.

The airport I was in had a Brookstone, which features plastic suitcases of questionable quality for $100 around the same size as the one that broke. So I bought one, stole myself away to a dark corner in the elite lounge and moved all of my items from one suitcase to the other. I then asked the friendly folks behind the customer service counter in the elite lounge (United Club) to throw away the broken one for me and they said "no man is an island" so I punched them repeatedly in the face and neck until they starting saying "No traveling man is not a suitcase".

Fast forward to last week. I had been using this Brookstone suitcase for a while now, all the while definitely assured that it would eventually break. And sure enough, I got to the Denver airport and this happened:



Son of a garbagechrist™. This was indeed infuriating, and in a very literary sense, represented the broken feelings I was having at the time about traveling too much.

In addition to the handle coming off, the zippers had snapped off and there were lots of scuff marks along the side. Just like me. I had some time before my flight, so I figured I'd look around for a Brookstone alternative at the Denver airport to buy a new, higher quality, suitcase.

God dammit. The only suitcase store that wasn't Brookstone had closed about a week earlier. So I decided to walk into Brookstone to see if they had better suitcases. The attendant there asked me if I needed some help, and while I was telling him that I needed a new suitcase, he looked down at the crapfest that I was wheeling beside me and guffawed. I pointed out all the problems with it, indicating that I had bought it at a Brookstone not 4 months before, making a point to insult the craftsmanship of the suitcase (or was I talking about myself?.... in this instance... I was not). He then talked to his manager and told me that they'd just replace it, right then and there, for free. And so they did. I was very pleasantly surprised. I swapped my stuff to the new, identical suitcase, returned the broken one, and wheeled my lifecase™ away into the sunset... by sunset I mean the United Club West in Terminal B.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Infringement


Excuse me?




Whhhaaaaattt?




What the hell man?

The stole my ultratrademark! How could they do this? This isn't the first time I have seen my trademarked idea of trademarking new words being used recently. But this one is on an ad, and is probably making money right now (and actually might be trademarked for real).

Hertz, you cause me a lot of grief. But you somehow magically made up for it in the same trip that I noticed this infringement.

I saw this ad on the shuttle bus that took me from the Denver airport to the Hertz rental facility. When I arrived at the Hertz facility and found the lot with my name on it, this car was parked in it.



Awwwww yeah. A bright yellow, highly noticeable, 400hp V8 convertible monster. MAN this car is yellow. Look how yellow it is! It even makes the other irrelevant poor people car in the background look yellow. I bloody loved driving this car in the beautiful plains of the suburban Denver sprawl. Top down, music blaring, giant lead foot mashing the gas pedal... never going over the speed limit though. Cops are everywhere in Denver, and boy oh boy are they bored, so either drive the speed limit or drive so incredibly fast that they can't catch you. Hertz has some fun cars in its collection, and this was definitely one of them. It stands in ULTRASTARK comparison to the rental car I have this week, which is a Chevy Slow. I really think thats the model, the Chevy Slow. I'm pretty sure that its slow enough to not even require a reverse gear. Yup, that makes sense if you ultrathink™ about it.

Enjoy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

22 out of 23

Everyday you learn something. "But I haven't learned anything yet today", you say in an incredibly destitute and low income voice.

ULTRAFALSE™! By reading this post, you're going to learn infofactoids™ so hard in your brains that you might actually die.

The previous sentence may or may not have made grammatical sense, its no matter, this sentence probably doesn't either. But who cares? I'm a premier 1K and I just don't give a slam. United airlines loves me and values my business. Thats why they hold planes at gates for me and never ever nickel and dime my wallet into oblivion. Thats established fact. Or is it? You might be surprised to learn that thats complete bullcrapulance™.

Consider what happened to me a few weeks ago while I was flying home from Indiana. I had a flight that eventually got me to LaGuardia, but connected through Chicago first. I booked this flight because it was much cheaper than flying directly to Newark. What I didn't anticipate was how irritating it would have been to land at LaGuardia at 11pm only to miss out on getting home at a reasonable hour to spend time with my wife and some ultrafriends™ who were staying with us (we don't commune with regular friends).

So while I was at the airport, RELAXING TO THE MAX (like it was 1997... or France), I noticed that the flight to Newark was about to board at a gate right next to my Chicago flight, which wasn't scheduled to leave for another hour and a half. So I walked over to the gate agent at the Newark flight, handed him my boarding passes and asked if I could just hop onto this flight instead. The flight was empty, so I couldn't imagine why it would be a big deal for me to just take this flight instead.

The gate agent started clacking away at his computer, then had to get on the phone to United headquarters. He was on hold for a good 20 minutes while the flight started to board. I stood there, while people boarded before me (I hate that) becoming more and more anxious as the push back time was approaching. Finally, within minutes of them shutting the gate, the GA said, "Ok, its going to be $476, would you you like to put that on the Visa we have on file"?


WHAT?



I'm a 1K! Why do I have to pay ridiculous amounts of money to hop onto a goddamned empty flight!? Why should anyone!? The gate agent said its because the destination is a different airport. I said its because... WHAT THE ASS!

I learned that day that we're all proletariat in the eyes of the airlines. Cattle to be milked for precious dollarmoneys, to fuel the driving greed of the chairmen and tablemen on the board of that corporation. They don't care about me, or my 1K status. In fact, when they look at me all they see are dollar signs. There's a guy who travels a lot - I'll have his money please.

There is a good ending to this story. One thing I was concerned about was that I'd lose my first class seats I had on my ticket to LaGuardia. But intriguingly enough, when the gate agent handed me my last minute boarding pass to Newark, I looked down at the class of service and noticed that it was United First. So, my 1k status was able to instantly upgrade me, which was nice. The first class seat next to me on the flight was empty, which I had never seen before. In fact, most of the airplane was empty, which I haven't seen since the golden days of the 90's.

Running total of upgrades to First: 22 upgrades out of 23 flights so far in 2012.
1K - do it.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Indy 5 million

$200 is an intriguing amount of moneydollars, wouldn't you agree? Consider the wide range of quality of goods and services you can purchase with that amount of money. Here is a list of things $200 will get you:

1) An extraordinarily low-end computer that does almost nothing
2) A 5.1 surround sound system with a blu ray player
3) A bottle of well-aged Johnny Walker Blue
4) One meal at Craft steak house
5) A year's worth of meals at McDonalds (also includes death)
6) A very used, old, crappy car
7) One night at a nice hotel
8) 5 nights at a Motel 6
9) A list of nine things (that'll be $200 please)


As you can see, $200 can either be a lot, or almost nothing. The more relevant example is the Sheraton Hotel in San Diego I stayed at two weeks ago, and the JW Marriott in Indianapolis I stayed at last week.

The Sheraton had a touch of the crapptitis™ ailment, whereas the JW Marriott was probably the nicest hotel I have stayed in in an incredibly long time. Behold its glory:


God dammit, every time I take a picture of a hotel room, it looks exactly the same as all the rest. You're just going to have to trust me that this hotel was as fancy as a shaved butt. Look at the little coffee corner?

Now, Marriott has its own hotel rewards program, which is not affiliated with either Starwood or Hilton Honors - so I gained nothing but awesome memories (or awesomeries™) from my stay here. Either way, if you're in Indianapolis, and you're doing whatever the hell people do in Indianapolis and you're going to spend the night... stay at the JW Marriott. Yes, its $200 a night, but it will be money well spent (or spell™... wait... went™.... nope.... hmmm.... wespent™?)

Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Open source

Dear friends!

A shockingly excellent (or shockcellent™) friend of mine and fan of this blog has written a bit of open source code that I think will benefit the greater community at large, as well as starving children in Russia.

Here is the link to the open source code: https://github.com/matryer/aarondictionary

And here is what it does when run as a script on a computationaldevice™:


The dictionary according to Hilarious Travel
All words are ultra trademarked or ultramarked™ by me
=======================================

EXCEPTOFOUND
deskman
ultraenamored
ultradelight
ultramemories
Godjesus
ultraviruses
voicedevice
PSEUDOSCIENCE
ultrawork
INCREDIMATION
ULTRADELIGHT
COMPLEMPTY
exceptocharm
ultraspades
alivedead
utltraperfect
interfear
ultralie
ultragreatness
quantumflights
simpinarly
VOUBLING
FREQUENMATRIXCOMPUTATION
impossiblescience
ultraspecific
ultraclass
ultrasnottyness
manguy
fakexury
businessconferenceman
ultrabusiness
public
privublic
extremedeath
ULTRADEATH
ultrastrength
superagility
awesomeguy
awesomeman
ultraspikes
ultrasleepyness
ultrareading
ultrareading
ultramegareading
ultrareading
motive
wrong
crappulance
ultrafantasticgreat
moregood
Ultrafools
digitronic
businesschild
Garbagechrist
ultraglory
Ultraremembering
gangstaness
vice


This is a dynamic list of all the ™ words I've invented over the years on this blog. Enjoy. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

I could live there

Scientists recently discovered that good things happen to everybody, not just the wealthy. I was previously unaware of this strange phenomena. Up until now, I was pretty sure money equaled happiness. The evidence, although perhaps skewed, stands is stark contrast to the recent findings by leading and following scientists. When you have lots of money, your boat goes faster than poor people's boats, your apartment is larger and more spacious allowing for additional happiness to fit inside, you can afford better doctors who will increase your life expectancy and survivability of many ailments which obviously increases happiness, you can send your children to better schools that focus more on education which will allow them to amass more funds and therefor more happiness.

Well, I believe I have found the great equalizer. No, its not some sentimental emotion, and no its not a giant equal sign floating mysteriously in the sky... its the nexus of a time and a place: San Diego, the last time I was there. I'll let the warm, caring feeling flow through you and settle for a second. I know my conclusion was exceptionally profound or EXCEPTOFOUND™.

My trip started off with the discovery and subsequent enjoyment of a new lunch menu in business class on United's Premium Service flight to SFO from JFK.

The tenderloin of beef was actually really good. I was as surprised as you are now. I believe this put me in a good enough mood to avoid spiraling down into intense depression after seeing my hotel room once I arrived. I was staying at the Sheraton Marina by the airport. Normally, when you check into your hotel room and the front desk personnel gives you directions to your room, he or she says something like "just head over there to the elevators and take them UP to the 5th floor". But at this hotel, the deskman™ said "just head over there to the elevators and take them DOWN one floor". What the ass? My room is in the basement?


I know this photo makes the room look nice, and it was... sort of. It was just dingy and dark because the balcony outside was actually a patio with a view of a retaining wall below the parking lot. Excellent.

I was ok with this room despite its dark and dank disposition at first, but when I sat on the bed to order room service and a spider that was way too big crawled out from behind the pillows I decided that I needed to be somewhere else. I called the front desk and had them to reassign me a room, just like a spoiled celebrity!

The new room was on the floor above and was much better.

But none of this really mattered because I was so ultraenamored™ by San Diego. The weather was perfect, the water was gloriously blue, the Mexican restaurants were absolutely amazing, and the pirates invading the port were friendly and intellectual.

This was docked at the hotel marina, you know... just in case you needed a pirate ship. And this is the view of the hotel from the pirate's perspective.

I know, I know, it looks really nice. It was OK. Airport hotels are always a grade below the standard because they're near the airport and people there are usually only staying one night. But that's the same everywhere. To the point of this post; well done San Diego. You've got a beautiful city there and I'd like to purchase it. How much do you want for it? I've got $50 in my wallet and another $50 in my savings account. I could probably liquidate a few assets and maybe sell a property or two that I own and get together another $50 if that's what it will take.

By the way, this was a Starwood Guest hotel. I've decided to explore outside of the Hilton Honors system since the Hilton Gold VIP status I've had for two years hasn't been as exciting as I'd hoped, and having points with both hotel groups will expand my free hotel stay choices.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gold in my mail 2

Yesterday was the day of GOLD! You all know how much I love receiving regular, paper-based mail. Well, imagine my ultradelight™ at receiving gold in my mail... again!

Every year, my elite statuses are renewed, and I either retain the same status as the year before, or sky rocket to extreme awesome status like I did with United. Since all these companies are so large, it takes them three months to process all the awesomeness. That is why you don't get your credentials in the mail until March or even... whatever month it is now, Febtober? Novemgust? Juneuary? Decetember? April?

Since I already received my United credentials, my Hilton Honors credentials I knew couldn't be far behind. 2 months later, it arrived! After spending over $15,000 at Hilton Hotels last year, Hilton decided to honor me by sending me the following exuberant mailer:


Notice how they cleverly bolded the two words that describe me: WORTH GOLD. That's right folks, I am worth gold. How much gold? I guess all of it. Although this is not the highest tier offered by Hilton, I'm relatively happy with what you get for this status. In your brain, temper that previous statement with the fact most hotel elite programs really don't offer you much except free nights. Hilton Honors gets you room upgrades, hotel discounts, and sometimes free breakfast, internet, and in room snack plates. My only gripe with it is that the points you earn are next to worthless. Often times, to buy a one night stay at a Hilton with points costs anywhere between 25,000 and 80,000 points depending upon where that Hilton is. If you are a business traveler, all of your important business travel is paid for so you will only be spending those points on hotels in places you're wanting to vacation - which means you can expect to have to pony up closer to 80,000 points. Now, it took me a year of staying at Hiltons to save up 80,000 points. In that year, at least 30 nights were spent at a Hilton hotel. That's not a very good turn around on points. However, you can also earn United miles for staying at Hilton, so there is some double dipping involved.

I'm just glad that the card is actually gold. Last year it was a sand colored card featuring palm trees and water and literally no gold. This year its Egyptian themed... for some reason.... and that.... you know... connotes wealth. GOLD!

Friday, April 6, 2012

1k in the mail

I have always loved getting stuff in the mail, ever since I was a little kid. I have fond ultramemories™ of coming home after school, running to the mail box, digging deep in side and pulling out all of the glorious mail addressed to my mom, praying to the lord Godjesus™ that there was something with my name on it. Usually there wasn't, so I embarked on a ridiculously stupid campaign to get more mail. I signed up online to various organizations as a business, feigned interest in miscellaneous and sundry credit card offers, and frequently returned spam mail with my information on it so I would receive more.

What the ass was wrong with me? More like... what the ass IS STILL WRONG WITH ME. I have to admit it, its really satisfying today, as a grown man of superior stature, to get a bunch of mail. So I was certainly happy to receive this the other day (more like, the other month):


United Airlines Premier 1k card, drink coupons, and luggage tags

This was my United Premiere 1k kit. I received this for flying over 100,000 miles last year. Just to reiterate, this is the highest elite status you can get on United (other than Global Services which isn't technically an elite status, its more like an invitation-only concierge service). So, for flying one hundred thousand miles, and probably spending over $35,000 on this airlines... this is all I get? A couple of luggage tags, some drink coupons (which are worthless anyway since I spend most of my time in first class where drinks are free), and a list of telephone numbers!? Yes, I am complaining about being in first class too much, and yes, I am complaining about drink coupons... not that they exist, but that this is all there is. Sure, I get to board literally before everyone else, my own dedicated help desk, access to elite security lines, bonus mileage, upgrade confirmation 72 hours ahead of everyone else, discounts on United Club membership, a disturbing familiarity with airports, delivery of several ultraviruses™ circulated through pressurized cabins, and a pilots license... but that all becomes meaningless to me if I don't get something nicer in the mail in recognition of my status. At this point in our culture, mail is a luxury. You don't need it to transmit information to people, or even to delivery products or services anymore. Use the post-office as a gesture to show your highest tier elite members that you're willing to spend a little to make them feel more welcome and awesome.
"But Aaron", you say in an incredibly poor and destitute voice. "They did send you something in the mail. Sure, it was the size of a large envelope, but it contained non-paper related items, kind of like little presents"!

Shut up.... lousy ephemeral, rhetorical literary voicedevice™.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Much better

Gentlefolk, I have recently learned that every state in this union (except New Jersey) has redeeming qualities. I have spent many moons recently, describing how crappy hotels in Miami are, applying information gleamed from highly specific datum points to larger general areas in an extraordinarily scientific approach known as PSEUDOSCIENCE™. That is what many scientists have called my methods anyway.

I recently stayed at the Bahia Mar Double Tree in Fort Lauderdale beach, and I have to say that I was very impressed. That wasn't so hard Florida, was it? Tell me! I don't care that you're a state and are therefor inanimate! My room had nice carpets, no stains, a balcony, space, a working air conditioner, a nice place for me to sit and do some ultrawork™, no loud noises, a wonderful pool, dedicated beach access, great restaurants in walking distance, no spring breakers in my face, and the best part... Hilton Honors points!


Holy jam on toast people, this place redeemed all of Florida for everything ever, even for the 2000 Presidential "election". I suppose it wasn't that it was such an unusually amazing hotel, just that it was so much more efficacious to important business travelers than South Beach.

The whole area was right next to one of the largest collection of private yachts I've ever seen. I even saw a giant boat that was carrying other yachts on it! It was a boat for boats. I've never seen that before. Combine that with all of the 50 something trophy wives with more plastic surgery than is probably legal, and you got yourself a fascinating cultural hamlet that I'd recommend to almost no one!

Enjoy.