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Old 10-14-2008, 02:28 PM   #1
Sailor Steve
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Default Sailor Steve's Excellent Adventure!

I said on the official 'Meeting' thread that I would be writing about events from my point of view. So, in the spirit of all one-sided opinionated know-it-all heathens, "Let me tell you what really happened".

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9:
I got a bit of culture shock right off the bat. I was aware of the security measures they have to take these days, so I was ready to take off shoes, belt etc, and be thoroughly panned and scanned. What I was not ready for was to find that if I wanted to check my bag I'd have to pay. $15 for one bag! Luckily I had already planned to avoid the chance of me going to Houston and my bag going to Moscow, so I only brought a carry-on anyway.

Second came the loss of my shampoo. I didn't know about the 3-ounce rule, and I said so and apologized. The security lady must get a lot of arguments, and, I suppose, assuming I was going down that road, immediately and loudly said "All you had to to was go to our website! It's all right there!"

I counterattacked with "Sorry, I wasn't trying to cause trouble, I honestly didn't know. It cost me a whopping three dollars at Wal-Mart. You're welcome to it."

She pressed home her scathing indictment of useless air-travellers with "Oh. Well, have a nice flight."

I'd like to say I won hands down, but to be nice to her I'll call it a draw.

I was assigned to seat 25F, and there was someone in it. So I sat in 25D and didn't worry about it. Then the correct occupant of 25D showed up and I scooted over to 25E. Then the guy with a ticket for 25E showed up and I went to the People-who-know-these-things and asked what I had done wrong. It turned out that the woman in 25F had given them the wrong boarding pass. 25F was her seat in the connecting flight, and she was supposed to be in 7A. I was just happy I didn't have to ride in the luggage compartment.

I'm the son of a retired airline pilot, and I used to fly a lot; but it's been thirty years since I've been in an airplane, and wasn't sure what to expect. Well, here is my report on the changes in air travel over three decades. The inside of the cabin was immediately familiar. In fact, I think I sat in the same seat I occupied last time. The name on the 'Escape' card has changed, but it still looks exactly the same. Same exact rush when full power comes on and you roar down the runway. Same exact jump in the stomach when the beast suddenly leaps into the air. Same exact stewardesses...excuse me, flight attendants. Same exact drinks being served...well, with one change: Two Dollars for a can of Coke??? Whatever happened to "complimentary"? I guess with the cost of fuel these days they feel they have to actually make some money somewhere. I was thirsty, but not that thirsty. And they didn't even have Dr. Pepper! I decided to get one at the next airport.

As we were landing, once again there was the same exact nervousness as the flaps came down and the spoilers came up and it looked like the whole wing was being torn apart by gremlins. But the same exact "why can't these things ever be smooth" jarring slam as the wheels hit the runway reassured me that I had in fact arrived back in man's natural habitat; namely inside an air-conditioned building solidly bolted to Mother Earth.

We got into Phoenix and I spent the next quarter of an hour making my way from the gate we landed at to the gate I needed to depart from. Knowing that I had an hour layover I got to the gate expecting to make sure and then go in search of liquid survival. I said "hi" to the nice lady and asked her where I could get a soda. She said there was no soft-drink machine within a three-day walk from the gate, but I could get one at the airport Burger King which was just a half a mile that way, but I'd have to hurry as they were closing the gate in four minutes. SAY WHAT??? It seems that Salt Lake is on Daylight Savings Time and Phoenix is on Standard Time, so my hour layover was more like "Run or you'll miss your flight!"

Needless to say I hopped on the plane and called myself lucky. The first plane was and Airbus A320. This one was some tiny thing about twice the size of a LearJet. Cool, I thought, this will be way more fun. Bumpy, noisy, crowded, maybe, but cooler than a flying office building. Actually the Airbus wasn't all that big, but that's how my dad described the DC-10, and I've always wanted to say that.

I sat next to a nice woman, and I happily and gratefully paid the two bucks for the can of Coke, as I was by this time rolling the cap of my pen around my mouth trying to produce some moisture. The Coke was warm, but they gave me a glass with some ice in it - surprisingly I didn't have to pay an extra dollar for it, so I counted myself lucky again.

HOUSTON

The Official Agenda said that the 'Meet & Greet' was from 1700 to 1900, and my flight wasn't scheduled to arrive until 1930, I was just a bit nervous. I didn't want to play prima dona and arrive fashionably late and have everyone say "That Steve - what a stuck-up jerk!" In fact I wanted to get there early so I could fade into the woodwork. So of course the only flight I could get made me the last one there, and after the greetings officially ended to boot.

So I got to the airport, and Neal called me. He was staying with the group while his friend Jesse and Niki McBee came looking for me. If you read the thread where Neal posted his picture of matching bikes on a camping trip, and everybody said "What does she look like?", and Neal said "She's a he, and he's a buddy of mine" - well, that's Jesse. Of Mexican extraction, I'm guessing, and another way-cool guy. Such a friend that he wasted a day running around picking up people he didn't know and would never see again, all because his buddy asked him to. Or maybe he volunteered first - I don't know, but either way it's good to have friends like that.

Anyway, it got worse. They were looking for me in the wrong place, or at least in the place where I wasn't, and Neal was trying to coordinate it all from another place altogether, namely his house, by the magic of cellular telephony. I had a great time swapping stories with the young black parking director, and they had a great time pulling their hair and saying "Where's Steve?!" Neal finally had the Brilliant Idea of giving me Jesse's number, while Jesse and Jason (yes, McBee has a human name as well) had the Brilliant Idea of having Jason hit all the exits with a 'Subsim' sign. Yes, we had met, but it was for four hours two years ago, so we could have easily changed beyond all recognition or forgotten what the other looked like. This was more likely as I usually take five minutes to forget what I look like, and it doesn't help that McBee looks nothing like his pictures.

Of course Jason walked into view at the exact same moment that Jesse and I were shouting and calling each other an idiot over our Star Trek communicator replicas. But, find each other we did, and set of for Rancho Subsim. We were all having fun talking and Jesse missed his turn and got completely lost. We stopped at a convenience store for directions, and I bought another soda (these guys actually had Dr. Pepper) and a typical bland convenience store burrito. While we were busy trying to find our way back to Texas Jesse's phone rang. I said "That has to be Neal! Tell him you haven't found me yet!" It was Neal, and Jesse embellished the story a bit by saying that they had found me, but Jason and I had gone back into the terminal half an hour ago and hadn't returned yet. About the time Neal was pulling out what's left of his hair I couldn't control myself and started giggling and cackling, and the jig was up.

We finally arrived at Neal's, and we finally at long last got to shake hands. And UnderseaLpcl. And Chad. And Chad's dad. And TarJak. And Dan the developer man. And Jimbuna...especially Jimbuna. I'm not sure what it was, because we don't really talk more than some others, and we don't have anything special in common besides excessive posting, but for some reason when he stood up I knew I couldn't just shake his hand; and I think he knew it too. So we gave each other a big hug. A big Manly hug, mind you, with the well-defined Manly back-slapping; but a hug nonetheless. And some others, I'm not sure who because we all met for sure the next day and I don't remember who all stayed extra late just so they could meet "Sailor Steve", whoever that guy is.

Neal pushed some great tamales on me, and though I had already eaten something I had great tamales until it hurt. And we talked and had a great late night get-together. The others went back to their hotels, and those of us staying with Neal talked some more and hit the rack (that's navy lingo for 'reposed ourselves for the night's rest'). ULcpl (James for short) used Neal's air mattress and McBee slept on the couch. I had hoped that I might get a chance to have a couple of minutes alone with Dan to talk about a project I've been working on, and, to my surprise, Neal actually had us being roommates! We slept in bunkbeads in the room belonging to his daughters. No, they weren't there, so don't get any funny ideas or make any crude jokes. In the words of Achmed the Dead Terrorist, "Silence! I keel you!" . The twins are 20 and have lives of their own, and Natasha, the youngest, was staying with her mother.

So the first day was a great, if late, start, and a high old time was had by all.

More to come (unless everybody has committed hara-kiri by now).
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:43 PM   #2
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It sounds like you had a great time! I wish I could have been there but que sera sera or words to that effect. I look forward to any more tales from the meet. Hopefully there will be one next year. I'll reserve annual leave just in case...:hmm:
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:54 PM   #3
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Loved reading it

Yer making jim all embarrassed :p
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:59 PM   #4
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Great read!
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:14 PM   #5
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Waiting for next installment. Glad you were able to make the trip.

R\L situations made me have to cancel at the last minute.


Would have really enjoyed meeting all of you.


Your read at least is almost ( Who am I kidding ) as good as being there.
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:44 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your experience, Steve, and keep the story rolling Would like to have made it myself, but at least this way we get to experience it vicariously.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:01 PM   #7
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Great post Steve, I wondered what was taking you so long

FAdmiral, my dad, and I waited for you to arrive, late but finally did and glad I stayed to meet you that night. Please keep the story going, you can put it in words I can not, and gives a different perspective to it.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:33 PM   #8
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Sounds like a typical travel day :rotfl:

Well except the great tamales

Wish I could have got out there but family travel plans say otherwise. Besides some of yall probably want to strangle me anyhow :p

Yall have fun and yes keep us posted.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:36 PM   #9
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Excellent read . Have the popcorn on hold pending next instalment.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:39 PM   #10
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wow - my adventure to neals was several hours of straight line Texas driving.

Nowhere near as exciting.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:47 PM   #11
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Good story. Nice to hear what it was like. Never been on a plane.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:55 PM   #12
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never been on a plane?

you need to come visit me!
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:57 PM   #13
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I have actualy been on a plane. 15 years ago. But then I was not even 2 years old.

Id like to get my flying license in acouple of years though, Maby when I'm 20/21.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:21 PM   #14
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the younger you start the better.

Are you in USA or elsewhere?
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:24 PM   #15
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Yes im in the us.
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