Travel Stress

We leave tomorrow morning for Manila. We will be on an airplane or in an airport for 24 hours. While I am looking forward to the Manila, despite the fact that it is rainy season, I am stressed out about the travel portion.

I don’t mind flying. When I am taking simple trips back home to KY or for vacation out west I’m fine. I still get stressed about getting to the airport on time and the security line, but once I’m through security and at the gate, I’m fine. Especially if it is a direct flight. I don’t have any trouble at all with the actual flying part of flying. It’s the process of flying that drives me crazy. Security lines, transferring planes, etc.

This trip will have two connections. Two short layovers. Two opportunities to miss a flight. Then, at the end, we get customs. I wish the government in the Philippines were treating us the way the Chilean government did. We got off the plane and there were people waiting for us at the gate. They took us to a nice room with cookies and TV while they cleared us through customs and retrieved our bags. The same happened when we left the country. Same nice room, they checked our bags and then we went through a back portion of the airport right to our gate. If every country we visited treated us like VIP’s flying would be much more pleasant.

I’m still dreaming of a first class upgrade on a flight. 13 hours on a plane would be so much nicer if I was rich and could buy first class seats. I hope my family realizes I would abandon them in coach if given the opportunity.

I’m sure I won’t sleep much tonight. That might be a good thing. Maybe, for the first time, I can actually sleep on the plane.

 

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Sean Spicer and the Emmy’s

I’m sure everyone has heard by now that Sean Spicer appeared on the Emmy’s this week. He’s also appeared on several late night shows in an obvious attempt to rehabilitate his image. People are furious about this. People are so mad, I almost didn’t write this post. I’m one of the people who thought his appearance at the Emmy’s was very funny and I don’t have a problem with them inviting him. Things are very tense in the world right now. We have nuclear threats, hurricanes, Nazi’s, etc. People are angry. People are sad. This is the time we need humor. I need humor in bad times. At my mom’s funeral, I took a picture of my niece’s kid in a car seat near the garbage and talked about(and posted on Facebook) how sad it was that someone would throw away a perfectly good Guatemalan child.  Humor helps people in bad times. I thought this was funny.

As far as Spicer being allowed to do things that rehabilitate his image – I also think this is OK. I realize that people don’t  like him. He lied. He berated the press. He said Hitler didn’t gas people. He had a really bad job and didn’t do it well. Does all of this mean he should not be allowed to try to rehabilitate his image? I don’t think so. Public figures have done this for years. They do bad things and then spend a lot of time and effort trying to fix their image. It’s an American tradition. I was looking to find examples of this and read an article about Nixon’s post-presidential life. I found this quote from Bill Clinton:

“May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.”

I don’t know what Spicer’s entire life will be. Maybe he won’t do anything to wipe away the 6 months he lied for Trump, but feel like he should get an opportunity.

We Need Diverse Books

I know that is a groundbreaking title there. Anyway, this post a personal illustration of connecting with book characters because they are like me. Before anyone else can point it out – yes, I am a white guy. yes, I am white, heterosexual male. yes, there are many books about people like me.  This post is not about me wanting more books about me. I’ve always agreed that we need more diverse books. I can’t imagine why anyone would disagree with this. Kids need to be able to read a book about a person who is like them. I always knew this intellectually. My last two books have been a good illustration of how a connection to the characters improves the reading experience.

I recently read The Serpent King by Jess Zentner. It takes place in rural Tennessee and in the authors words

“I wanted to write about young people who struggle to live lives of dignity and find beauty in a forgotten and unglamorous place. Who wonder what becomes of dreams once they cross the county line. This book is my love letter to those young people and anyone who has ever felt like them, no matter where they grew up.”

I grew up in a place that could be considered forgotten and unglamorous. A small town where many kids dream of escaping to a bigger and brighter world. A small town where some days it seems like your dreams will die. I felt completely connected to the characters and could see a little bit of myself in them. Because of this, the book meant more to me and I was more emotionally invested in the story.

I am now reading Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero. I like the book, but I don’t feel the same connection to the character because I am not a Mexican-American girl living in California. A Mexican-American girl will feel that connection here, but not necessarily in The Serpent King.  It’s important for books like Gabi to exist for that girl. She does not have the plethora of books about people like her like I’ve had my entire life.

I didn’t realize how lucky I was growing up a reader and finding myself in all of the books I read(like the creepy clown in It, for example) and even though I realized it as an adult, it didn’t really sand out to me until I read these two books back to back.

I do think it is important for me to read books about people different from me, but sometimes it is really nice to read a book that feels like home. Everyone should have that opportunity.

Some Random Stuff from My Recent Days

I’m still struggling to finish a blog post. I either discover I don’t have a lot to say, or what I am saying is too boring or whiny for me to post. So, I will bore you with some stuff from my life over the last couple of weeks.

I went to a pre-retirement planning seminar. I’m still a little less than 8 years away from being eligible to retire, but I wanted to go just to get an idea of what to be thinking about over those years. Unfortunately, I did not find a loophole that will allow me to retire early, so I guess I need stop thinking about it for a while so I don’t get depressed.

We went to our last back to school night ever this week. It was a nice, short night because my daughter has a partial schedule. While I’m not looking forward to both of my kids being gone, I am looking forward to being done with the public school system. There’s already so much drama from the school about students not being where they are supposed to be during “pride period”(a time to go to clubs or get academic help from teachers). I agree with my kid. If they would just punish the kids not doing the right thing there wouldn’t be such a problem. I have never agreed with punishing the collective due to the actions of a few.

I finally finished the book that ended good reading streak. The next book I read, The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, was very good and got me back to where I wanted to read constantly.  Now I’m done and hoping the next book won’t slow me down again. I probably need to take a break between my assigned books. They all seem to have death in them. That can be tough.

Finally, we are one week away from the trip to the Philippines. I’m not looking forward to 24 hours on planes and in airports, but I’m sure the experience will be worth it.

Remembering 9/11

Today is the 16th anniversary of a terrible day in American history. It is a day that no one will ever and should never forget. Lives were lost. Lives and families were changed forever. Here is my memory from that day.

It was a day that I would have normally been at the public library, but there was a staff meeting at the jail, so I started my day there. At one point during the meeting, the director’s secretary came in and handed them a note. A few minutes later, they meeting was stopped and the TV was being turned on. I assumed there was some local news story that might have implications for the jail so I decided to make a run for the restroom and then come back to see what I had missed. It was obviously a much bigger story than I expected. I immediately called my wife who was at work in DC and asked if she had any staff in NYC at the time and to see if she had heard the news.  Eventually I did head to the library, listening to the news on the way. I was on the road when the first tower fell.

Once at the library, we all sat in the meeting room with a TV on and I emailed back and forth with my wife checking to see what she was being told in DC. It was a little scary when there were reports of another plane that could be heading toward DC.  I was eventually sent home at 1. I took the long way home as my two normal ways would take me past Ft Meade or NSA. I figured it was not a good idea to attempt to go that direction. I was home by 1:30 and then spent the afternoon taking calls from family and following my wife’s attempts to get out of DC. She did eventually get a ride to a nearby town and I was able to pick her up from there. My day was tense enough even knowing that we were all safe. I can’t imagine what that day was like for people with family at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

The eeriest thing for me personally was actually the next morning. I went out to get my newspaper and I knew that planes were still grounded, but a plane was flying overhead. I assume it was some sort of military plane, but it was odd to see it in the sky. I took a moment and stared at it like someone who had never seen a plane before. It was odd to be so mesmerized by something that the day before would have been ordinary.

Hiatus

There will be no weekly wrap up post this week. I have not jotted down anything to be added to the post. I could still post it, but it would be an empty post. So, probably better than what I usually post. I can’t seem to write much of anything these days, but I’m reading a lot. I’m 11 books ahead of schedule on my goal to read 100 books this year. Last year I struggled to get to 100. This will all change soon when the fall TV season starts. I will be watching a lot more TV when I am alone which means a lot less of reading books.

Speaking of TV – the “What to Watch Tonight” series will not happen the first week of the fall season this year because I will be out of the country. Poor timing for a TV guy like me. Maybe I can write some posts about TV in the Philippines instead. Since that series is also on hiatus, go to my old post here to see my take on the fall schedule. Some things have been moved around, but my thoughts are pretty much the same.

I have no idea how long the hiatus will last. I may wake up tomorrow with a post in my head. I may not have anything before I flee the country. At the very least I should have a post about the trip at some point and some TV thoughts once I return.