30 April 2010

Flying "home"

I'm blogging from the plane! Drug-free. Take-off freaked me out. Afterwards, it was just fine. Great, in a way. I'm having a blast looking out the window and I have some very fun girl sitting next to me chatting away. Good flight home so far.

(Don't forget: FLICKR!)

Home. Eating something. Had three drinks on the plane. Sat next to a couple of people who were quite magnanimous, and insisted on buying me drinks. So a screwdriver and two rum and cokes later, I was pretty well on. Just so happens these two were from Philly, but the girl was originally from Florida (Plantation, even, living in a complex down the street from me that I'd looked at years ago and that my ex moved into when we split back in 2006 - small world etc.). So they gave me some tips on Philly and places to look for housing. We exchanged numbers and emails. Renay and Gary. Very nice people - not my "types" -- much more in party mode, much more outgoing -- but extremely lovely people I wouldn't mind hanging out with in Philly since they live in the area where I will be working. Funny how these things go.

The flight was good. It was "drug free" (yes, I had alcohol - this was well into the flight, thanks). The takeoff was frightening. Feeling shoved back in the seat, seeing the plane take off, the noise, etc. But I was quickly distracted by the incredible speed and view, and a few minutes in, I was actually enjoying the flight. The bulk of the flight, being at night, was complete blackness out the window. The descent into South Florida and Ft. Lauderdale was up there on some of the most amazing experiences I've had.

Arrived home to lots of mail, of course. The City of Fort Lauderdale has two positions I qualify for that they want me to come in for - one to test/interview for, the other to just interview for. The City of Pembroke Pines wants me to attend orientation after which, if I liked it, I'd have the job. Both are in the trash. Leaving Florida is a wonderful prospect. Living in Philly? With my fiance? And some new friends? In a place with seasons? Yes, please. I can't wait. I spent the last year or two feeling stuck in neutral, not knowing what I wanted to do or what would feel like I was moving forward. Well, I guess this is it. I'm grabbing it as hard as I can.

I had a bit of a run-through on some of what I'll be doing and it is similar to some of what I've done before - or at least used before in previous occupations - and the rest I would likely very easily learn. I am excited about this new job. I think I'd like it quite a lot. The differences - from what I can see right now - between the new job and the one I will quite happily be leaving are happily large.

This past week was...I don't know what. The week to come will be a busy jumble, with tension and anxiety and stress and happy anticipation. Then...as cheesy as it is to say, a new life.

The flight home is documented on Flickr, as well as the rest of the trip and various and sundry older stuff etc. My Flickr will continually be updated, and comment!

27 April 2010

My first flight

I'm writing this from a motel (Country Inn) in Reading, PA, at 2am. So my first flight. Well, I had trouble getting myself to leave the house. If you've never had a major fear/phobia, it is hard to explain exactly what it is like. It is like asking you to do something that you don't want to do, but multiplied by 1000; like if you don't like spiders, asking you to walk up to a spider the size of a horse and mounting it. Or something. Analogies suffer greatly at this time of night. So I was told - very astutely - to just do one thing at a time. I was all packed. I first had to drive to the Sharaton and park. So I did that. Good. Next step: take the shuttle. Good. Next step: I'm at the airport! But I'm already there. Horray. Might as well go through the kiosk.

At Southwest, you go up to a kiosk, check your baggage (and it's free for Southwest! Holla!), and print your pass. All very cool. Then it is security. I got blown with a blast of bracing air (supposedly at random they shoot people with air, the air blown is tested for elements that might suggest one has been handling explosives). Then I was chosen to have my carry-on bag meticulously tested. Lucky me. This actually was fun to me. Also, made me feel good because, yay, security! Then you go sit at the gate and wait. I had been given a small prescription of happy pills by the clinic doctor to get me through my first flight. I took a half of one as I sat at the gate. Ninety minutes to go. Then I spoke to my brother, then texted other people. Everyone, when they find out you've never flown, or that you're afraid of flying, has to tell you a story. Often they are horror stories, or at least, stories of "oh, you'll be fine, but sometimes __________ happens and it's scary, or _________ makes me feel ____________ and _____ ___ ____________." As in, things someone who has a phobia doesn't want to hear. So a half hour to go, I took a whole pill. (My doc told me to take up to two for the flight.) I got on the plane, ten minutes early! (Horray air travel!)

I sat on the aisle. My thinking: easier to get off the plane in an emergency (to hell with those other people, I'm getting out like George Costanza) and also, I'm less boxed in, so less claustrophobia (though I don't know if I suffer that phobia or not; better to not find out 30,000 ft. in the sky). The plane started to "taxi." (Why it is called that, I have no idea. In case other people want to thumb a ride?) As we taxied, I took another half pill. I'd taken my two. That's all I could take. (Rebel I am, I stick to my rules with medication.) I felt no better, really. But - I wasn't completely freaked. I was nervous, a little scared, and apprehensive. The way it works, the plane sits completely still. I thought maybe we'd found a fare. Then suddenly they hit the gas like Vin Diesel (my pop culture references are outdated?) and then next I knew, I look outside and Port Everglades is UNDERNEATH ME. Then I felt like "holy FU*K" and then "WHEEEEEEEEEE." I asked the guy at the window - bless him - to take the picture seen in the previous post. I pulled my laptop out and put in a DVD to watch. Didn't want to do that. Pulled out the book I bought on the way called "Flying Without Fear." Found that I should've read that book before the damned flight. Pulled out a magazine. This was good. I was interested. I would look out the window, marveling at being in the sky. Felt the plane ascend. I was frightened but not overwhelmingly so. Eventually, pulled out my iPod, listened to a flight playlist while I flipped through my Computer Music magazine.

Then, my memory failed me.

The two drugs apparently take a lot longer to kick in than I thought. I remember only shards of the rest of the night. Really, the rest of the next 24 hours. At some point, I had conversations with people. I can only assume I was able to conjure sentences in the English language. At one point, I got the hiccups very severely, and I remember the stewardesses giving me an orange drink and then a steady supply of water in those nifty little plastic cups. I vaguely remember seeing Philadelphia as we descended into the airport. At some point, against airplane regulations I texted Angela (the text didn't arrive until the plane landed; this I would know except my brain was in the midst of a rolling brownout). I landed. By the grace of a merciful God I found my luggage. I texted Angela some gibberish. One about not knowing where to go to find her. Another at how "shicked" I was at how fast the flight went by. Apparently, I still had the hiccups. Probably from the medication being too much for my system. I was given - in hindsight, this was a bad idea - a can of soda to help with my now painful hiccups. I downed the can of soda. I then had the Burp of Doom. You know, the burp that says "Warning: tangible material on its way." Angela - bless her - quickly handed me a sweater, which I puked generously into. I also got it on her car seat. (I'm sorry, Ang.) I then apparently fell asleep quickly as I was driven to our motel. (I have a text from this period of time that simply reads "hotdogs?" This apparently was her question to me - as I slept in the car, waiting - while she was in a store picking up a few things for the night. I was out cold, and therefore, there were no hot dogs.)

I then apparently slept through the night and into the morning, and waking me up at around 10am would have been easier with a Pulp Fiction-esque syringe of adrenaline to the chest. I still felt the effects of the medication for the first part of the day, but at that point, I was none the worse for wear, except strange and fragmented memories; and, of course, stewardesses glad to see me off their flight, and a very nice couple with a story of a very loopy jackass who sat next to them on their flight into Philly. Oh, and the puke came right out of Angela's car seat, thank you very much.

All that being said, I think I enjoy flying, and I'm looking forward (somewhat) to doing it again. At the very least, I don't believe I'll be very scared of it, though I imagine I'll always have some nervousness and apprehension of it because, well, that's the kind of guy I am. I won't be in any big hurry to be doing it, I won't seek it out, and I won't love it, but I won't hate it or be terrified of it. I will also never have Cherry Coke Zero again.

Please take a look at my PA pictures, if you are one to do such things, and I think you are: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickdaly/sets/72157623817110747/
More will be added as my trip winds down. PA is quite lovely, and I don't want to leave. In fact, I may end up not leaving, or at least, leaving, telling my boss and landlord - and, in as much as one can talk to a land mass, the State of Florida - to suck goats, and then coming back here and bringing my things with me.

That's all for now.

22 April 2010

Oh boy

Hey. Did you know that people go up in planes and then, to get back to the ground, they JUMP OUT?!?

Well, in 45 minutes I will be arriving at the airport. A couple of hours after that, I will be doing something that nature never intended us to do. I'd like to think I am as prepared as I'm going to be. The plan is to keep the freaking out inside. I will likely take something before I board, and hopefully drift off to sleep on the flight. In case I'm doomed to being awake - which I suspect I will be - I have packed a couple of movies, lots of stuff on my iPod, a couple of books and a new magazine. I expect I won't enjoy the experience. In all seriousness, I hope I can tolerate it or, at best, be okay/indifferent. I know all of the facts - statistically I've got more chance to die in the shower than in a plane, it's safe, planes work blah blah etc. If only emotions and fears responded to intellect and knowledge.

I'm flying Southwest. Supposedly they come on the speakers and tell jokes and sing. I'm sure that'll help a lot. Also, they have a good safety rating, and have had no crashes or major accidents in 37 years. So DON'T YOU THINK THEY'RE DUE FOR ONE?!?!?

The bright side is that I can say I've done it. I've flown. I can use the expression "I've got a plane to catch!" If I get the chance. In fact, maybe I'll call someone a few minutes before I've got to go, start a conversation, and then abruptly interrupt and end it with "Can't talk now - I've got a plane to catch!" I could also become a member of the mile-high club, if I'm willing to be the only member of my club (ifyouknowwhatimean).

I would write about my experiences on the plane, but apparently I can't because there's no Internet in the sky. I thought that's where Internet came from.

But I can't write now - I've got a plane to catch!

21 April 2010

I ain't gettin on no plane, sucka

Twenty-four hours from now, I will be on a plane. In the sky. Bucking the laws of gravity. Thousands of feet in the air. Holy crap.

I'm as prepared as I'm going to be, I think. I just hope I handle flying better than Mr. T or Charles Grodin.

20 April 2010


Alright, I'm getting close to my first plane trip. Thursday. Just over 48 hours from now, I will be arriving at the airport. Then departing. In a plane. A flying machine. That will fly impossibly high up in the sky. For almost three hours.

I'm starting to (finally) feel some real nervousness. Part of my problem is that I can't really imagine flying. Sure, I've seen it in movies, on TV, I hear of people doing it, but never having done it, it is hard for me to really imagine what it will be like. As I'm unable to truly imagine it, it is hard for me to know how I will feel. I'm not freaking out about it, at all, really. Now. But I won't know what it is like, of course, until I do it. That makes me nervous. So either I will be in the middle of it and feel fine and be relieved. Or I could get in the air and experience a horror usually reserved for Lovecraft characters when they face some monster or awful reality that so terrifies them that they are driven insane.

There's probably a middle in there somewhere too.

07 April 2010

A drug that "takes away free will"

This is a fascinating story about a Colombian drug that takes away a user's free will. At least, I find it fascinating. It sounds like something out of some fantastic novel or movie. Someone should write it. More interesting information about it can be found here.

05 April 2010

Guy gets parking ticket 30 seconds after parking

I would refer this to one of my favorite Onion articles (which has perfectly encapsulated my feelings whenever I've gotten tickets, parking or otherwise): Shit Parking Ticket Fuck