Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home sweet home...

Unfortunately... at least for those of you who have, in the past, taken great pleasure in my traveling woes, our Thanksgiving travels went off pretty cleanly.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Twilley Travel Time without some kind of hitch.

Though really, when it comes down to it, this isn't typically of Twilley Travel. I think I've mentioned this before, but prior to my marriage I rarely had travel woes. In fact, I was once even bumped up to first class on a flight for nothing. I've talked to my bride's father and he concurred that these traveling times are more typical of something that would happen to them.

So here is a recent Twilley Travel update.

We left
Amanda and Renee with our home last Sunday [they both ran the Philadelphia half marathon, congratulations!] in hopes of making it to the airport early... by regional rail [which is kind of like a subway, except it's mostly above ground and goes throughout the region...on rails...] We made it to Suburban Station [basically the regional rail's hub in Center City Philly - all the trains out to the burbs end up here at some point] about ten minuted before the RR [regional rail] was supposed to show.

I looked up, and our RR had a number "29" beside it and the word, "Late."
Laura and I debated a little about what the "29" meant. That is, we debated until the LED for our RR disappeared altogether. Why show up 29 minutes late if another train is going to be there @ 8:30 anyways?

We decided to run out and catch a cab [the RR would have couse us circa $14, Philly cab? $26.50].

Did I mention that there was a marathon, half marathon, and 8k being run on the day of our departure? Did I mention that there were somewhere around 15,000 runners out that morning? We walked south and smack into a wall of runners [actually, when it comes down to it, our path was perpendicular - ancillary point].

We walked two blocks east and then a block north to city hall [this is where the major N, S, E, and W roads that dissect Philly converge] in search for a taxi.
We found one and he brought us to PHL post haste.

No real hangups in the security lines [and actually, you can read a new installment re: travel on
Twilleynomics - because I'm going to try to run with the idea of Twilley based economics there].

The plane was [surprisingly] on time.

Our actual departure, not so much.

We sat on the runway a while. You know, because it takes a while for 17 planes to take off before your's does. Yes...seventeen planes.

So, we made it to
ATL after some time in the air, grabbed some lunch, and headed to our gate for a flight to BHM.

A few situations here.
First, our preferred mode of travel is with
limited luggage - meaning we've usually got our lap tops and a carry-on with our clothes with nothing else.

Apparently, the gate domimistress decided that Laura's bag was, in fact, too large for the plane. Checking the baggage at the gat was completely against our plans, yet we obliged.

Then, as we are literally on the runway [of couse, after we had already boarded the plane and
left the gate], the captain informed us that one of the doors appeared to be open on the plane. Not only that, we'd also have to head back and wait for an open gate before any of the doors could be checked and rotated through their sequence. He knew that it was open because a light on his dash told him so.

The question begs, why didn't someone check this light
before we left the gate?

After an hour of waiting, a gate opened up and we were checked out and back out on the tarmac in little to no time.
But, you see, we were taking off close to when we should have been landing in BHM. I was actually composing my letter of complaint to Delta in my mind during the flight. However, my dreams of compensation were short lived - we actually made it to Birmingham in little less than a half hour than we were supposed to.

All to say, pilots must be
regularly flying much more slowly - which I am sure helps with fuel economy.

In BHM, we thought Laura's carry-on was lost - for some reason, they had taken it straight to the luggage office instead of tossing it on the conveyor belt with everyone else's.

In a nut shell, that's it. We actually made it home early through one of the world's worst [read - most congested] airports [PHL]. I guess, you could say the only thing we regretted about the trip home was that we didn't get bumped [last year, we gave up our seats for $400 worth of flight vouchers, two free meals, and extra skymiles - see Twilleynomics for more info].

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Short Look Into My Past...

Nothing deep here [though the title may allude otherwise]. Just thought it might be interesting to post a link to snippets of my past. In High School, I was one of maybe 3 football players that played a collectible card game [CCG] called "Star Wars."

You can see my e-bay sale here.

I don't get sentimental about too many things, but this was literally such a large part of my life in High School.

Altogether strange.

BP also posted this video of me on Youtube. Thanks - thought the video might have been lost or something...imagine my relief to know that Brian's e-mailed this to me and God knows how many others;-).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Gene loves the city...

Last night, I thought a lot about movement and windows.
I thought a lot about the lives people were leading – how they were doing, where they were going.

I’ve started taking the train to work – I’ve talked about this before, but as every day passes, this seems to be more and more of a viable option for us. To be honest, I feel so much more rested and composed when I do not have to drive for 1 ½ hours on one of the busiest roads I’ve ever driven. More than that, riding while someone else is “driving,” gives me the time and opportunity to sort and process all of my thoughts from a given day, or a given week, or a given relationship.

Last night, I was reminded why I love to live in a city like Philadelphia.

When you’re riding in from the suburbs in the evening, there is darkness. Even from the tracks of public transit, you can see the homes, lawns, and privacy fences of those who were tired of the City and ready to literally “get away.” There’s less graffiti, more trees, and the tracks become slightly more removed from its surroundings.

Riding back into the city, there are monolithically constructed buildings of mortar and reflective glass. There, all the tracks seem to coalesce at 30th Street Station in University City. The remnants of older trains stand guard as you enter into a grand old station.

There is graffiti.

There are few trees.

There is chain link, but no privacy.

There are city lights. There, on the left, is the art museum. There are people bustling to get out of the city and people hustling to get their next meal (or, their next drink, or, their next fix). The buildings of mortar and reflective glass are lit like Christmas trees covered with votives and garland – beautiful in a way that an urbanite would appreciate.

In a city like Philadelphia, the tower of Babel has fallen and there really seems to be mass confusion. Despite the fact, people have decided to stay for one reason or another; they have decided to love the city. Perhaps it’s a mere tacit approval; perhaps they’re here because they couldn’t have afforded the quiet life in the suburbs – but the fact remains that all 1.4 million of them are here.

Last night I thought about movement and windows.
I thought about how the past has been left behind and how that same past has shaped my loves and desires today.
I thought about all the people who had come and gone through my own life – where they were going, what they were doing.
Sometimes, I wonder if they ever think of me.

A city in all of its grandeur is a stark reminder of the reminder of a world broken by sin. Someone once asked me what I like about the city, and that (in a nut shell) is it. It’s easy for my skin to become thick when I am removed from a situation, a people, or a reality. The city allows me to be surrounded by the beauty that is man created in the image of the Divine. The city allows me to be surrounded by the death that is man breaking the covenant made with the Divine.
[The picture used in this blog was found on Wikipedia and taken by "surplusparts." Picture used under the guidelines of Creative Commons Attribution 2.0]