Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Drunken Airport Blogging

As if there was any other kind of 'airport blogging'.  I recall the famous professional skeptic James Randi remarking about how he never drank because he did not ever want anything clouding his mind.  Now that's some dedication, bordering on mental illness in my mind.

When I was at my departure airport (and not sauced, not good for business to show up drunk despite what Bill Clinton's memories might say) I again thought about my love of the airport.  There's the term 'future shock', and I would think that airports would be a perfect manifestation of that: being able to near-instantly transport to anywhere.  It's a credit to the human race that many people who sit in airports wonder where their stinking 'space ports' are; and if there were space ports, nothing less than trans-dimensional gateways would do!

The view from the Timberline restaurant at DEN
Yes, with airports the fact that I could show up and go anywhere, anytime....
Well almost anywhere.
Mrs. Sandmich and I used some frequent flier miles to purchase round trip tickets to China for "Sally's" sister's wedding.  After moving miles around, etc. it ended up setting us back $200 for the tickets.  Okay, not bad.  However, what is bad is the $200 per person fee plus four pages of documentation (per person) for a travel visa in order to enter the 'peoples paradise'.  I saw that and thought "why doesn't China just pull the trigger and ban travel outright?".  As documented by The Sandmich, they're already recalcitrant about letting their own people leave, but what does it say to a two week visitor when there is a novella worth of information and a flight-worthy fee just to get in?  Compare this to places like the Dominican Republic which has signs at their airport that basically say "Got money?  Come on in!".  If it wasn't for a friend of the family getting married and the fact that I might be missing out on the biggest party that I'll ever attend in my life I'd tell those ChiComms to screw off.
On that note, how about some language?

While traveling in Colorado on my latest spell I thought of my hour long travel both ways to my brother's family's place where I stay, to the plant where I work.  I thought that I could stay at a hotel instead and be there in fifteen minutes, and then since I was by myself I could drive up to see my brother's family and drive back that night and...well that doesn't make any sense, best just to stay an hour away.  I can't complain much at all since there's someone who actually works at that plant who makes that drive every day of their lives.  The drive I could do, the $60 a week gas bill I could not though.

Anyway, while driving I feel like I should expand my mind by listening to language classes from iTunes U.  Last time I tried to relearn some Spanish (especially helpful in Colorado), but my mind begged for mercy and a return to A State of Trance.  "No room in the inn" I could hear the gray matter screaming.

Not to be deterred completely, since I scheduled the trip to China I decided to do some Chinese audio lessons.  What a cluster-F of a language.  In the past, while listening to Sally talk to her dad it sounded like she was constantly asking him questions (the tone most typically heard in English when someone says "Really?").  It turns out that is one of four vowel accents used to differentiate vowels and words.  For instance, the words (as pronounced in English) "pa", "pa?" and "pa?!" are three different words (there's a forth that's barely different from the first).

"Okay" I figured, I get it, nothing too bad.  Then I listened to the lesson that taught how to count from zero to ten (which is actually irrelevant when it comes to East Asian languages).  But I remarked to my brother that if I listened to that lesson all week to and from his house that I might be able to count to three.  It's odd since two of the numbers are the same as Japanese.  It's almost as if the Japanese said "nice language you got there Chinamen, we'll take these handful of words and you can keep the rest of that hot mess".
So I of course purchased the HD version of Final Fantasy X (review forthcoming).  I played it all the time at home.
Back into the...whatever it's called
Also of course, when visiting someplace as scenic and interesting as Colorado I would want to do something more interesting than playing any silly video game...until I learned that my brother who turned me onto the game more than a decade ago was playing it as well.  I'm sure my sister-in-law was amused to no end to see her husband and 'future version of husband' sitting around for hours on end playing a redux of a twelve year old video game that we'd both played already a couple times between us already.
'Beautiful People'
Just to wrap this back up before I wolf down a steak at the Timberline that isn't past due, I thought I'd make another airport remark.  Most, I would say north of 90% of the people, dress and prepare themselves as if flying is still something special.  I recall a whole article in United's Hemisphere's that detailed how men should properly dress for transportation via air flight.  I can't say as I follow any of the advice (typical jeans-dockers-untucked dress shirt hipster look), but it's nice to know that somewhere in the universe, some level of standard is being maintained.

Thankfully they didn't mention anything about the proper sobriety level as I get ready to stumble to the gate; ready for a three hour flight of illegal bootlegs of amazing BluRay rips of Cowboy Bebop and trips to the bathroom...

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