So I just got back from my fourth trip in a month with one more to come. All told, so far I have flown 14 legs, and landed at 9 different airports, flown in 6 different kinds of plane, and gone through customs 6 times. All told I have flown more than 25,700 miles. To put that in perspective...the circumfrence of the earth at the equater is a mere 24,901 miles, or if you prefer that is five round trip flights between new york and LA. To make matters worse...I have yet another flight coming up to tack on another 2,200 miles, bringing the grand total to a staggering 28000 miles over 6 weeks (averaging 600 miles/day). I think I have singlehandedly become the greatest contributor to global warming. At this point, i have just about memorized that preflight boarding announcement. "If you are seated in an exit row, please take out the safety card in the seat back pocket in front of you, if you do not feel you can complete the tasks outlined because you are in idiot or drunk...please give up your seat to someone who will appreciate the extra leg room." Also, the mark of a good airline is whether or not they give you the can. I'm not talking about the suction flush toilets here but actually the drinks. Some airlines, give you half a can in a cup full of ice and others leave the whole can. These little things really make the difference for me. I'm not one to drink on planes, and they have all but cut out snacks entirely, so the shining moment in the flight is the drink service (though I slept through the drink service on four of my last 6 flights). Pay $600 for a flight and they can't even leave the whole can. These are the same people who determined that you could save thousands by eliminating a single olive from airplane salads. Could they just tack on the additional $0.25 it costs for the other half of the soda and leave the can instead of leaving me feeling cheated and wondering who got the other half of MY SODA. Continuing with my rant, people who set of the metal detector. And then proceed to take pounds of metal out of their pockets and wonder why it went off. In Boston this past weekend, I watched a man set off the detector. He then took out two large sets of keys from his pocket...set it off again...took off his hugh stainless steel watch...set it off a third time and was wanded to discover a rodeo king sized belt buckle...what the hell is that about. In stead of a first class line there should be a quick test to determine if the concepts of a metal detector and airport security are confusing...if so, shuffle all those people elsewhere so they don't interfere with the people without metal plates in their head. Furthermore, the whole shoes thing. We've now gone 5 plus years with having to take our shoes off to get X-rayed. If you go to the airport wearing a set of boots that cover your calf and which require the aid of sherpas to help you put on, they should be taken away and for petes sake...don't stand in line trying to put them on. Swallow your pride and walk 10 feet barefoot then put them on. OK...I'm DONE. What day is it again? Where am I? When do I leave? Patrick OUT!!!
So this was my busiest weekend in quite a while, which is really saying somethin given the events of the past month. It started on Friday evening when i left work early to go to Emily's wedding rehearsal. I don't know if I ever mentioned that she was getting married but she is/did. I wasn't in the wedding persay but she volunteered me to be an usher which was fine. The minister was a bit crazy and at one point told me that the whole ceremony hinged on me as an usher, not sure where he got that from but I tried to act like I was taking his words seriously. Afterwords I kind of thought he was doing one of those little white lies you tell to children to get them to do something or so they feel better, ie. "the crust is the best part...you don't really want me to cut it off." So I think he thought I must have not felt good about the whole thing and figured he would make my day by reaching out with some grandiose job description of walking people to their seats. Of course the ceremony went well and so I guess I can take the credit for that one : ) Emily was going a bit crazy during the rehearshal though and was making every attempt at removing god from the service (that made me proud but I also felt sorry that she had to deal with a minister who at one point told them, "this is MY wedding"). None the less, things turned out OK and the ceremony was short but complete in every sense. On to the reception where once again things went quite well. Food was pretty good and the DJ was great...played music that certainly fit the mood at every point and was not at all intrusive or dominating over the event (in my mind that is the fatal flaw of all wedding DJs...trying to be the star of someone else's show). Saw lots of family and friends, most notably cousin marty (from now on dubbed "Party Marty") who danced like there was no tomorrow and got more than a few others to do the same (including my mother). Things ended a bit early on account of the reception hall but we still didn't get home until close to midnight. Upon returning home, I promptly went to bed only to awake a mere 3.5 hours later to put on the same suit as the night before, drive to the airport, and get on a 7am flight to raleigh for Brian's wedding. We got in a bit early and picked up our rental car where I had to explain to the clerk that even though my license says "Under 21 license" (a peculiar massachusetts thing) that if he looked at my birthday and did the math I was in fact 25. He told me twice that they don't rent cars to people who are 21. I then told him that if I see anyone who is 21 I will let them know...I felt a little bad about that but I'm not even sure he heard me. Eventually, he put two and two together actually he subtracted 1983 from 2008 and eventually figured out that I was OK to leave with his precious hyundai accent that smelled vaguely like marijuana and cigarettes mixed with fabreeze. We made our way fairly quickly to our hotel where we saw simone (brian's fiance/new wife and a good friend of Elsa's), and eventually met up with brian. He seemed relatively calm and was pretty put together for a guy getting married in only a few hours. We got our boutaineers (sp?) and made our way to the park where the ceremony was being held. The only potential crisis was when brian asked the rabbi if he had the rings to which the rabbi replied, "did you give those to me, I hope they aren't in my office." *GULP* I quickly called Simone who, without a bit of nervousness, told me her mother had them (she did have them all safe and sound). Aside from that very minor snafu everything else went great. Simone looked fantastic and the rabbi was very informative and I felt like I learned a lot about jewish tradition (an added wedding bonus). We took pictures and went to brunch with the family and friends at a place not to far away. Everyone was quite nice and I had an extended conversation with the rabbi and his wife over breakfast who were both extraordinarily pleasant. I also gave my best man's toast to the new bride and groom at which point I may have alluded to brian being a poor jew (as a note: this refers only to his particular observance of jewish customs...mainly kosher food), but I don't think anyone was offended and I really didn't mean it as an insult to brian or his family. Though I now wonder if the rabbi who may have liked me before may not like me so much now. After all this was said and done Brian and Simone went to spend some quality time with just their individual families and the rest of the crew from massachusetts and one of simone's friends from pittsburgh went out to explore raleigh a bit. We ended up walking around in a park, riding paddle boats, and eating dinner at a place whose theme was getting stoned (food wasn't bad despite us not being high). Ended up meeting up with brian and simone later for a little relaxation. Kept them up too late which had the double effect of delaying their wedding night and delaying any sleep they might have gotten before a very early trip the next morning to Costa Rica for a honeymoon. They didn't seem to mind too much but they might have been miffed during the next mornings 4am wake up. We said our goodbyes and let them get to whatever one gets to in that situation. All in all, a pretty phenomenal set of couples that I'm sure will have bright and happy futures together. Patrick OUT!!!
So I'm not dead. I know its been far too long since my last post especially given all the pretty cool things that have gone on since then. I returned from China about a week and a half ago and had two of the most interesting weeks of my life. I'm going to be writing about those experiences here over the next few weeks. I was thinking about doing a travel log kind of thing but I'm not sure that would be very entertaining or informative so I'm thinking about writing all about certain types of experience (food, art, culture, language etc etc.). I think that will allow more personal commentary on my part and hopefully on your part too. I will also try and post pictures of certain portions of the trip. These entries could be slow to come on account of a very busy travel schedule which includes 5 different states over the course of less than a month. Anyways, stay tuned for more updates and rantings about life in the far east. Patrick OUT!!!