Monday, May 21, 2018

Airing it Out

One of the things I was very fortunate to do whilst on my blogging break was take an actual vacation, not just a vacation from the blog. My wife and I went to Las Vegas for a week, and stayed with her cousin. It was quite an experience, and I may share some pictures of it at some point, but today is not that day. Instead, I want to talk a little about air travel.

To get to Las Vegas, we had to take two flights. We flew from Albany at about 6am to Charlotte, where we met my brother-in-law (he was heading out there as well, and was the impetus for the trip). From there, we flew to Vegas. The magic of air travel is that you can leave Albany at six in the morning, spend something like ten hours in transit (we had a three hour layover in Charlotte) yet still arrive at Las Vegas at one in the afternoon. Wait, I guess that's not the magic of air travel as much as it's the magic of time zones.

I'm still new enough to air travel that I find the whole thing incredible. I mean, think of it: you're in a metal tube with 150 of your closest friends, and you're 35,000 feet in the air. Thirty-five thousand. It still boggles the mind. I understand the principles of flight well enough to understand how it happens, but it's still kind of magical when I get right down to it. And I love the perspective of looking down on towns and houses and cities, on forests and mountains and, in the west, canyons and deserts. A window seat is pretty much required for me; I don't know what I would have done on the five-hour flight if I hadn't been sitting by the window, because the sad thing is, the reality of air travel doesn't really match with the promise. Once you get off the ground and reach cruising altitude (35,000 feet!), the trip itself becomes kind of dull (on the flight out there, we ran into cloud cover from just west of the Appalachians to western Arizona. It opened up for the last forty-minutes or so of our flight, which did provide us some pretty good views). Seats are too cramped, the plane is really, really noisy, and those windows? Kind of small. I guess they have to be, but I would prefer a window that I didn't have to break my neck to see out of.

The thing that might be most amazing about air travel, though, is all the other stuff that had to be invented to support it. Baggage carts and carousels. The jet bridge. The pushback tug. Radar stations. To quote Sheriff Bart (Blazing Saddles):




Monday, May 14, 2018

And back again.

Hello, all!

It's hard to believe it's been over a month since I decided to take my break. I hope things have been well for all of you. They've been pretty good for me on the overall, though April in particular was a month run at breakneck speed, between work and personal stuff, which was compounded by getting ready to go on an actual vacation at the beginning of May.

The hardest part of being away is coming back. When I take time off (or when I'm home on a weekend), I rarely check work e-mails or think about work at all, and my mind doesn't start drifting back toward work in the last day or so of the break. Sometimes, this makes me feel guilty, especially when I come back to the office and find a roaring e-mail discussion amongst some of my volunteers that broke out over the weekend. Then, I tend to think, "This is something important to these people, would it really have killed me to spend a few minutes looking over this and weighing in over the weekend?" Probably not, but then again, the advent of the web and e-mails and texting has eaten more and more into our personal lives. It's not a matter of "I'm not getting paid for this time, so I won't do it" as much as it's "I just need to not think about this stuff for a while."

It's been kind of the same for the blog. Once in a while, I would think of it with a twinge of guilt, like, "I really should be writing something so when I come back to it I'm not scrambling around to produce" (kind of like I am now, hah ha). Unlike some of my other breaks, however, I never had one of those must-blog-about-this-now moments. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or not.

Wow, that's an inspiring way to resume the blog, huh? Let's chalk it up to vacation/hiatus hangover. Next week will be better. I don't know yet what it will be, but it will be better.

Thanks for coming back (or for stopping in, if this is your first time here). What's new with you?