Friday, November 23, 2007

Why I Hate Traveling

Most girls I know LOVE to travel. My sister hops around the world with abandon, working multiple jobs to be able to afford such adventures, and sometimes taking a job in her destination city of choice. It seems every girl on match.com absolutely loves traveling, so much so that they list it along with shopping as their favorite things to do.

I can't stand traveling.

This Thanksgiving our family decided to meet up in Vegas for shows, gambling and turkey day buffet debauchery. A wonderful reprieve from document reviewing. My flight was supposed to leave Reagan National at 11:45 am, I'd get a connecting flight in Minneapolis at 3, and I'd arrive in Vegas at 4:30 Vegas-time.

Notice I said "supposed to."

So, the first leg of my flight -- the one heading to a connecting flight in Minneapolis -- was delayed by two hours because of storms in Memphis, which delayed the plane's arrival in DC.

Once I finally got on the plane, there were two young toddlers in the row right behind me. THEY WERE ALREADY CRYING, and we hadn't even gotten into the air yet. Once in the airn, the one directly behind my head was screaming and screeching and crying for easily two-thirds of the journey. It was at least two years old and really should have known better.

The second leg was supposed to be quite grand. I had checked in the previous night via the Internet, and secured a wonderful exit row seat right in front of the large entrance area to the plane. I would have had five feet of legroom and gotten to watch as everybody shuffled onto the plane. The last time I had that seat, a couple years ago, I ended up flirting with a very cute brunette when she engaged me in a playful discussion about the Cinnabon I was making love to. Alas, I did not capitalize on her IOIs. Now armed with Mystery's glorious tips, I was looking forward to picking a target and trying my luck.

But it was not to be! Because the first flight was delayed, I missed my exit row flirting seat that would have gotten me to Vegas by 4:30, and had to be crammed into *fucking 12-E* -- the middle seat in between a guy and an upper-middle-aged woman who smelled strongly of adult diapers. Adding insult to injury, our plane was delayed on the tarmac for half an hour because, in the words of the pilot, "the de-icing platform is just a mess." He told us we'd be hear for another 30 minutes to an hour. Hearing that, the biatch in front of me decided to break all protocol and recline her goddamn seat back! I wanted to shout, "You have to keep your seat back and tray table up until the captain turns off the fasten seatbelt sign!" But since I was illegally using a communications device to text message people and inform them of my plight, I decided not to call the kettle African American.

Long story short, I got up early for nothing, wasted several hours wandering about two airports, and didn't get in to Vegas until after 7 -- missing the Cirque du Soleil show for which I had a non-refundable ticket.

I enjoy exploring strange new worlds. I like seeking out new life and new civilizations. I am a fan of boldly going where no Matt has gone before. But until The Powers That Be invent and commercialize transporter technology and/or warp speed, I'm staying at home on my couch and exploring strange new worlds the way God intended: by watching DVR'd Star Trek episodes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Apologies and Old Thoughts

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to all of my regular visitors for failing to update my Web site as much as I ought to. You see, I m a busy man. Every now and then I come up with a fantastic idea for the blog, but by the time I have an opportunity to write about it, it is several days or weeks later and my enthusiasm has waned. For instance, two weeks ago I was going to write a very detailed entry about my hour and a half adventure collecting free burritos all over the city. In 2006, I was only able to get two free burritos, but this year, using my Segway, I was able to make it to four Chipotles in the course of just 90 minutes. The power of free food compelled me. It was glorious!

Around the same time, someone asked me to tell her what my first impression of her was when I first met her. No one had ever asked me that before, and so I never realized how personal a question that really is. If you think about it, a first impression is either negative, positive, or neutral. Either way, someone's feelings could be stepped on. If my first impression was that this woman was ugly and annoying, what would be the purpose of telling her that? If my first impression was that she barely registered in my mind, then she would assume she was boring and forgettable. If my first impression was very positive - like, oh my God, she is so beautiful! - then I am simply setting myself up for some sort of embarrassment. Or rejection, as she makes a scared face and mumbles something about "Creeepy."

But I told her what my first impression was, which was that she was pretty and skinny and, once I started talking to her, she seemed nice enough. She was pleased with my first reaction. I asked her what hers was of me. She told me, "I thought you had really red hair. You reminded me of my father, who also has red hair. When you spoke, I got the impression that you were very intelligent. "

Huh. Maybe we should start telling others our first impressions more often!

Anyway, that is what I was going to write about. Unfortunately, I was too busy or lazy to put my ideas into words. Fortunately, my voice recognition software is playing along nicely tonight, and it isn't taking that long to get my thoughts onto the screen.

But I can tell you right now what the next long entry will be: Matt's 500-Mile Segway Report! Get the popcorn: this one will be entertaining.

Overstock.com employees: helpful but not accurate

Welcome to Overstock.com, you are now chatting with 'Tony'
Tony: Thanks for visiting Overstock.com, this is Tony, how can I help you?
Matt: I was wondering if you could tell me why the sky is blue.
Tony: I do not have the exact information on that, however, I personally feel that the water color gets reflected on to the sky that's why its blue in color.

Ahh, so close Tony! In fact, so close that upon a cursory glance, I just assumed you had gotten it right because you used the magic word "reflected." Indeed, something is reflecting, but it is not water droplets.

According to my fuzzy memory of Mr. Wizard and other infotainment, the sky is blue because... um... something about the light being scattered... DAMMIT. Um, Google?

"The blue color of the sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange and yellow light is affected by the air.

However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue." --http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/sky_blue.html

And there you have it! What have we learned today? 1) The sky is blue because of scattering. 2) When bored, a fun way of passing the time is chatting with Overstock.com online help and asking them science questions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

...it's my bird in a box!



Imagine a 2-year-old child. Now imagine a 2-year-old child who can FLY. That's what Rudy is like. The intrepid Rudy often finds interesting nooks and crannies in my apartment, and here we join him as he plays inside his newest find, a big box in the hallway.