Monday, July 30, 2007
This is.. This feels.. This sucks. Detroit was the home of the one of the fifty greatest jewish baseballs player Hank Greenberg. The automotive industry, which fueled this country’s development, is located a few miles from the airport. For Chrissake, Motown was born in Detroit – and I love motown. I need to listen to some more Motown. What the fuck.
Realistically, I guess I should expect it. I mean if you make enough mid winter flights from new york to someplace even frikin colder you should expect some delays. On the way out here I took the company car service, Tel Aviv. No ..that’s not it. Its... Fuck this always happens when I get tired.. Goddamnit.. its All City. Anyway, the black car picked me up at 6:30AM Sunday morning three hours after 12” of the divine lords all mighty frozen tears finished blanketing the city. I was hungover and sleep deprived after warming my body by drinking and watching reverend al’s sushi bit on SNL. (Am I the only one who knows what funny is anymore). I get to the airport early, saunder on over to the e-ticket machines. No walking for me, I saunder all the way. I interface with the machine and try to pull up my boarding pass before I pass out from hungover tired dizziness or puke on the floor. The stupid machine didn’t work so I saunder on over to the main counter.
“Hi, I’d like to check in.” I give her my ID and my credit card. I don’t mention the previous attempt at checking in. I don’t want to discuss it, I don’t want to even think about it. All I want is my ticket so I can hurriedly go through security and sit at the gate for an hour and a half. “When is your flight?” Easy enough. “Its the 9 AM to Detroit.” She looks back down at the screen. ”Sir, did you use the machines.” God damn it. What the Hell is wrong with this woman. Doesn’t she see I don’t want to talk about the e-check in machines which were designed for morons but apparently that’s one level above me. “Yeah, there was something wrong. It wouldn’t print out my ticket because I don’t have my confirmation number.” About two minutes of not so furious typing occurs. Why is this so complicated? Shouldn’t this be relatively easy for her? I try not to think about it. “Well, you didn’t confirm your ticket. You never purchased it -- or the return flight on thursday. The flight is booked because of the snow and all of the rest of the flights are booked because of the cancellations the past two days.”
Fucking great. I fucked this one up royally didn’t I. Retarded children can book a flight through expedia and I cant even buy a ticket in the northwestern website after simultaneously signing up to be a northwestern frequent flyer. I remember receiving confirmation. I received confirmation of my frequent flyer number. “I need to get to Detroit today.” NEED is the word I use when I want to take my assertiveness up a notch. In general, I’ll use CAN about ninety percent of the time. “There is nothing left in coach. The only thing left is a $800 dollar ticket that is first class to Detroit and coach the way back.” I am giving her the chance to be my saviour and she basically responds--- this is my job, I do this everyday, here is your best course of action -- give us another $600. Why don’t I make a stink. Why am I just inwardly resigned to the fact that I am going to buy this ticket at four times the original price -- so I can get to DETROIT in DECEMBER.
When I was seven and Patty took me to cancun via the international airport in texas (houson?) she forgot to get signed permission from peter to let me leave the country. Apparently the Mexican officials were afraid of mothers running away from abusive husbands and were valiantly trying to prevent being used as a refuge. The flight agent wouldn’t let us on the plane until she got peter’s permission so she called our house to contact him. He didn’t answer. Now, I don’t know if he was at OTB, buying a pack from the store, soaking in the tub, or asleep in front of the TV, all I know is he didn’t answer. I threw a fit. I threw, what might be, the biggest fit ever. I whined, and cried, and cried, and moaned. Patty held my hand and kept telling me we wouldn’t be able to go unless the woman got through, so I cried and whined some more. Every time she didn’t get through in front of me I got worse. I ended up aggravating the whole arrival desk area. After thirty minutes of emotional hysteria the woman decides to goes to make the calls from the backroom. She gets the confirmation, approves us, and whisks us to the plane, which is just about to shut the doors. I find my seat and collapse. Now, there was no confirmation. A miracle did not happen. They just wanted to get rid of me. Years later I asked my mom about the emotionally draining experience and she said she was egging me on. She thought that if I made a big enough stink they would let us on the plane.
Where is my killer instinct? Come on you idiot say something more than need. Goddamnit. “Ok I’ll get the ticket” I suck. I suck big time. The flight is delayed. We piss around on the tarmac for an hour while they de ice us. I am still hungover. When I am tired and hungover sometimes I get a headache which lasts days. During the landing I thought I had an aneurism. An intense pain right between the bridge of my nose and my eyesocket last for about 10 minutes. I jamb my thumb into the top of my eyesocket and apply pressure until we reach the gate. I really don’t know what the hell that was. I finally leave the airport its rainy and there is fog. I take a 10 minute shuttle to the hotel. Its one o’clock on Sunday afternoon and I am taking a nap at the Detroit metro Hilton Suites.
I do my ridiculous assessment thing. The week is cold and windy and everyone smokes, gambles and has spent some time in the military. I finish early and get back to the airport at 2:30PM today. I am going to get an early flight. I am seven hours early for chrissake and northwestern has about ten flights to the nyc area every day. I mean its not like its Spirit Air.
I walk up to the entrance to the regular ticketing area. A greeter greets me with “Do you have ticket or an eticket.” Oh, Fuck no. not this again. Maybe I can fool her. “Oh, hear it is.. its regular” I wave some paper in front of her. Damn it, she looking at it. “Oh, this is an e-ticket. The e-ticket area is over there” She points to the other side of the concourse as she blocks the entrance to the roped off regular ticket area with her body. She is an Indian woman about 30 years old, 5’4 110 pounds. I am pretty sure that I could take her out. I am not a big guy but I think If I tried I could past her. I mean, I may even be quicker than her, I wouldn’t even have to tackle her or anything. ”Yeah, I just want to talk to somebody. I want to switch to an earlier flight.” That’s, right challenge her with your wits, you young genious. ”You can change your flight on the machine. It all can be done on the machine.” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” God damn fucking greeter. So I slowly saunter over to the machine and attempt to increase my intelligence level to that of a lobotomized republican. I use the module and discover there are four flights to new york airports between now and nine. This is going to be no problem. Next flight is at 3:15 gets in at 5. Wow, I am going to fucking beat rush hour. Awesome. I push the button to change the flight.
PLEASE SEE AGENT, God damn it. I meekly nod at one of the E-teller help people. I mumble, ”It says, please see agent” to the Jenny Jones look alike. She escorts me to the end of the aisle like I am the class clown being reprehended for planting a whoopee cushion. Jenny says “There is a lot of air traffic in new york. A lot of flights have been delayed because of High Winds.” High winds. Not snow, not rain, not fog but high winds. High winds and low visibility does not sound like something I want to fly into. Whatever. ‘Welcome to my world’ as wasserman once said.
Jenny continues. “All the flights are booked but I can put you on standby for the 530 to LGA and you ll have a good shot of getting on”. She seems like she knows what she is talking about but I don’t think she is explaining everything to me. “What happens if I don’t get on”…”If you cant get on ask another agent to sign you up for the 7 PM to LGA. And if you miss that you can always take your original 9PM to JFK. ”Hey everybody, didn’t you know everything in this life is easy. Everything always works out. “What happens to my luggage if I cant get on the La Guardia flights?” As is evident by now I usually don’t ask meaningful questions in ninety percent of my conversations. But every once in a while…”Well you go to JFK and you luggage goes to Laguardia.” Shit. Shit. Shit. “Is there anyway that I can switch it back?” “ No. Your luggage is definitely going to La Guardia.”
Alright take control for once in your life. What would Patty do? She’d take the risk of the flight and she’d get on. She’d make the flight. Take the flight – or you can ask another question. “So what are my chances of getting on the flight.” “Pretty good. There’s a good chance. There are only a few standby’s ahead of you.” Jenny speaks loudly and with dramatic facial movements which gives the impression she knows what she is talking about. I don’t think she would mislead me. I think I remind her of her nephew. Ahh, who am I kidding, I remind her of some guy who was nice to her at the DMV. ”I’ll take the ticket”
The Nortwestern wing of the Detroit airport for all of its modern conveniences, its elevated tramway, its wireless internet, its bathroom’s motion sensored paper towel dispensers is really a quiet boring place. Quiet that is, until all the midday flights to new york start getting delayed and cancelled because of zeus like winds in the new york area.
I walk up to the gate an hour and a half before departure time which ends up being three hours before it eventually leaves. “Excuse me miss.. umm.. I noticed that the previous flight recently got cancelled and I was wondering about the standby list. I was told that I had a pretty good shot of making the flight. Has it been …reprioritized?” Other than the Indian greeter everyone in the suburbs out here looks about the same. The woman I am talking too looks like a plumper, more downtrodden version of the woman at the front desk. She says “Whats your name” I give her my ID my boarding pass, my standby boarding pass, my luggage claim ticket and say “wolff.” “Mr. Wolff, your standby number is 41”.
Hmmm. The flight is booked. The flight holds 120 people. Thirty percent of the people would have to not show up for me to make this flight. It is time for an executive decision. “What are my chances of getting on the 7PM” .A few seconds of typing. “There is a long standby list and it is two hours delayed”. Its three hours before the flight leaves, the plane isn’t even on the ground yet. I can salvage something. I make this happen “Alright cancel the standby and put me back on the original flight. Also, I NEED to get my luggage off the flight and put back on the original flight” She ponders for a minute or two, types frantically for another minute and then she then prints out something from what looks like a dot matrix printer. She gives me back all my flight material and says she is going to show me what she has done. She comes out from behind the desk and stumbles over nothing. This is giving me tons of confidence. She give me the paper with text which says in no uncertain terms ”notice to groundscrew, please put the luggage of Mr. Jake Wolfe on flight 1927 to JFK”. Oh yeah, I am sure this is going to work.
So I have been sitting in the airport for six hours. I can’t get the wireless internet to work. I only can ride the tram so many times, and amazingly enough the paper tower dispensers get old after the third time. I decided to type all this out because otherwise all I am going to think about is how I have to take a taxi from JFK to LGA to the east village all after get in at 11:30PM. I figure it would be more productive of me to relive the experience. Patty would be proud.
The old eastern european baggage handler at JFK was very helpful with confirming that my luggage was waiting in the baggage claim at LGA. My Russian cabdriver, Igor Shamalev, was very amuzed about the intermediate stop to la guardia. Igor and I arrived around midnight at the arrivals area of LGA during a traffic situation caused by some police profiling of a middle eastern man driving a van with tinted windows. I think he was just picking up his tinted middle eastern relatives. Igor decided the best place to avoid traffic and wait was to loop to the taxi waiting area near the edge of the terminal, where there were no police, no lights, no cameras. Not that I am a vulnerability assessor but …. So, I get out of the taxi, enter the baggage claim area, talk to the handicapped black woman in charge of the luggage. I point to the orange scrunchy on top of the bag, grab it and head home.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
BROOKS: But, so you think "OK, get out." On the other hand, if we leave....we could see 250,000 Iraqis die -- you had the John Burns quotation earlier in the program. So are we willing to prevent 10,000 Iraqi deaths a month at the cost of 125 Americans?
That's a tough moral issue, but it's also a tough national interest issue, because we don't know what the consequences of getting out are. And the frustration of watching the debate in Washington, very few people are willing to grapple with those two facts: that there's gonna -- the surge will not work in the short term, but getting out will be cataclysmic. And you see politicians on both sides evading one of those two facts, but you've got to grapple with them both....
WOODWARD: And the problem, though, is we don't know. People can say, "Oh, it's going to be a disaster." I mean, you've -- you cite numbers which are pulled out of the air -- "10,000 dying" -- I mean that's -- where does that come from?
BROOKS: Well, A, it comes from John Burns. Second, it comes from the national intelligence...
WOODWARD: Well, no, he doesn’t say 10,000.
BROOKS: Well, no, no, but it talks about genocide.
BROOKS: So I just picked that 10,000 out of the air
KRISTOL: There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Good Questions: How To Start a Book Collection?
Hello AT, I am working with a client who has a new apartment, loads of beautiful bookshelves and no books. We'd really like to build a book collection relatively quickly. We'd like it to be based on his taste, but also be a great collection of classics and aesthetically as pleasing as the work that's gone into the rest of the apartment. Do you have any advice or know anyone or any place that can help??
In response a reader posted this
I'd like to create a photo wall in my home but none of my
friends and family photograph very well. Any suggestions?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I really cant believe jon didn't know about Walken's dancing childhood. Has TDS jumped the shark?
"I used to be prettier than I am, but I think I look better now. I was a pretty boy. Particularly in my early movies. I don't like looking at them so much. There's a sort of pretty thing about me."
New East Village/ L.E.S./Nolita hotspot --- Whole Foods? There is nothing worse than Prune or Ninth Street Market on the weekends. Maybe I can hit this up in my running gear after a two bridge run.
I was at the cleveland VA from 4/4/04 to 4/7/04 ... So this cant possibly be me.
It looks like we need a couple more runners for our team for a hundred mile relay race through the green mountains. Any low maintenance extreme runners out there?
Finally, I was told to inform the masses about this event through the extensive readership of my blog. Guess who is up for sale?
Please join us at Stout on July 27 where we will be hosting a party to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The highlight of the evening will be a Bachelor/ette date auction where we will auction off dates with several of NYC's finest ladies and gentlemen. We are each training for a marathon this fall (B is running in San Francisco, R is running in Chicago and L is running in New York) with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. We are fundraising for this cause while they help us prepare for the races. The $15 donation will be a small price to pay for the fun night out and will be much appreciated to those who benefit from the services, education and research of the Society.
Who: B K, L K, R K and 15-16 Bachelors and Bachelorettes
What: An evening of fun, including a Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction
When : Friday, July 27 (Door opens at 6:30, Auction starts at 8:30)
Where: Stout (133 W. 33rd St, http://www.stoutnyc.com/)
Why: To raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Cost: $15 at the door
RSVP: Email LLSDateAuction7.email@example.com to add your name to the guest
Please help us spread the word about the party to all of your
friends and colleagues. Trust us, this is an event they will not want to miss.
Monday, July 16, 2007