Archive for September, 2007

Adventures in Atlanta Airport

Larry and I spent a lot of extra unplanned time in Atlanta airport last week.  Here are some recaps of our adventures.

Good Things Come to Those in Good Humor?
Thursday, thunderstorms in Atlanta left me and Larry with a cancelled flight.  We hung out at the airport until late in the evening, hoping to get on one of the two remaining flights to Roanoke.  Turns out, it is not quite easy to get on a Roanoke flight when the standby list is nearly twenty passengers long.  But, we still had a good time.  Even at 10 PM and still without a flight home we were both in good spirits.  We stopped by the Delta Crown Room with the intent of getting on the wireless connection to find a hotel.  However, when we were checking in, we explained our dilemma to the agent and she started poking around looking at flights. 

Meanwhile, Larry and I, apparently not tired of each other, did our usual bantering and joking around.

“Are you related?” the agent asked.

Larry, showing the salesman in his blood, replied, “No, but we can be!”

She did some mysterious typing and he and I yammered on, finding plenty to laugh at. 

And then suddenly our agent printed out something.  She couldn’t get us on a flight that night, but she did get us two totally free rooms at the posh Sheradon (which sported fancy schmacy flat screen TVs).  Do you know how many cancelled flights I’ve had?  I’ve never been offered a free hotel…ever.  This “Victoria B” from Delta certainly did not have to do that for us, especially considering our delays were weather-related, but she did anyway. 

It was a nice treat.  Though I have to wonder– if we had approached her with entitled attitudes and grumpy demeanors, would the results have been the same?

Circa 8 PM, Larry and I were seated next to two anxious college students who were trying to get to Wichita.  They both had job interviews the next morning.  I noted one was carrying The Boondocks: Public Enemy #2, so we started talking about The Boondocks.  From there, the conversation meandered, Larry and the other student joined in and the four of us managed to entertain ourselves while our respective flights continued to have delays.  After a little while, I brought the conversation back to The Boondocks.

“Do you know who Huey Freeman [one of characters in the cartoon] was named after?” I asked the college student.

“No, who?”

“Huey Newton!” I said proudly, but noticed the kid’s eyes did not register.  “Do you know who Huey Newton is?”

“Sure,” he said,  “He’s a musician, right?”

Heh.  Nice try.  I explained Newton’s role with the Black Panther Party and then I moved on to why I mentioned it.  I think about Huey Newton a LOT at airports.  Why?  He has marvelous passages on the act of waiting.  Wrongly incarcerated, Newton spent a lot of time waiting in jail.  Whenever I am stuck at an airport, I think about the conditions Newton had to wait in and how much he excelled at capitalizing on the time.  Does this concept sound familiar?  I’ve mentioned it twice before on this blog– both on posts covering an airport delay. 🙂

Huey Newton, waiting in jail.  Now, is waiting at an airport really *that* bad? 

Anyway, I shared my insight about airports, waiting, and Huey P. Newton with this kid.  He nodded and stared.  Other than that– silence.  It is safe to say I failed to inspire him.

BUT– I did get to marvel both students with my pictures of Wichita, Colorado and Montana.  Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some.

My uninspiring Huey Newton monoloque wasn’t the only Black Panther Party reference at Gate 32B.  With all the delays, cancellations and confusions, there were a lot of gate changes.  Earlier in the evening, Larry and I got to play “Gate-Pong” between Terminals C and D.  Late in the evening, an older gentlemen wearily wheeled his luggage into our gate area.  He was just about to find a seat when a gate change was announced for his flight– all the way in a different terminal.

“WHAT?!?!?!” the man yelled.  “Uh huh.  No way!  WE PROTEST!!!!”  He shoved his fist into the air and all the passengers in the surrounding areas cheered.  It was almost as poignant as the 1968 Olympics.  Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Frustrated Flyer.

I missed his fist.  This is about one-two minutes post-fist.

Deal with the Devil?
I may have done something unwise with my free time at the airport.  Or maybe exceedingly open-minded.  Larry likes to declare he hates Ethopian food.  How many times has Larry actually eaten Ethopian?  That would be zero.  So I like to get on his case. 

“You can’t judge it, until you actually try it.” I’d nag.

Well at one point, one of the college students was talking about Ann Coulter.  I said something and suddenly Larry and I had our roles reversed.

“Have you ever read one of her books?” he asked.

I stammered and tried to cite other encounters with the author, but he had none of it.

“Well, you can’t judge her until you’ve read one of her books.”

So I went into attack mode, “Oh yeah, what about Ethopian food?!?!”

Our conversation continued and as the college students watched on, Larry and I settled on a deal.  He will go to Ethopian twice and in return I…uh…will read one of Ann Coulter’s books.

I think I’ll end up winning in this deal though.  I’m pretty darn sure Larry will end up liking Ethopian.

Weird Question
Friday, Larry and I returned to the airport to catch a morning flight to Roanoke.  We loaded up on free Starbucks (Soy Green Tea Latte for me) and sat down at the gate.  Soon a man my age approached me.

“Excuse me, this is going to sound like a weird question, but are you Vicky Sawyer?”

The question did not seem that weird at all.  My maiden name is, in fact, Vicky Sawyer.  I wouldn’t have recognized him on my own, but once he said something, I could place him instantly!  He was an old BBS friend from high school. 

And so, my second wait at Atlanta airport went by quickly.  After all these years, there was plenty to catch up on.  Before I knew it, my 28 hour journey home was ready for its very last leg.


September 16, 2007 at 7:57 pm 5 comments

links for 2007-09-15

  • Aww… this is cute. Discover had chidren submit entries for the October 2007 issue (which covers The State of Science in America). I think it is super cool the runners-up get online recognition AND in the issue.

September 15, 2007 at 12:18 pm 1 comment

JavaScript: Referring to a Button With Spaces in the Name

Dang.  This afternoon, on a short timeframe, I had to override the behavior of an HTML form button.  I couldn’t change the button itself (it was generated by compiled code that I did not have access to), but luckily, I already knew how to programmatically change the onClick event via JavaScript

I pulled up the HTML code and discovered the button name had spaces in it.  How am I supposed to refer to THAT?!?

<input type=”Button” name=”Click On Me” value=”Click On Me” onClick=”‘;, ‘Bottom’);”>

Ordinarily, I would have some harsh criticism for the fool who named that button…  but I think I am said fool.  I think this might be my handiwork from 2001.  🙂

I knew it was destined for failure but, proving I am still a fool in 2007, I did try:

document.MyForm.Click On Me.onclick = function () {alert(‘Hi’);};

Yeah, did not work.  Did a quick Google search, found nothing of value the first two pages, so I went with the elements object which proved to be much more space-friendly.

var btn = document.MyForm.elements[‘Click On Me’];
btn.onclick = function() {alert(‘hi’);};

This may not be the only solution.  It may not be the best solution (discussion welcome).  And I did not test it in anything other than the specific version of Internet Explorer I needed.  But it did the trick.  Also, I did not get heckled by JavaScript, so that’s a positive sign.

Anyway, that’s how I managed to refer to a button that had spaces in the name. 

September 14, 2007 at 11:52 pm 4 comments

Wichita’s Troll

Walking in downtown Wichita, I couldn’t help but take pictures of the beautiful Arkansas River.  A local couple passed me and noting my camera they asked me a peculiar question.

“Are you hear to take a picture of the troll?” they asked.

Say what?!?!

Wichita has a hidden troll!  Just uphill from the river, the sidewalk passes a sizeable storm grate:

Ordinary Storm Grate?

Well, shackled and tortured beneath the sidewalk is the troll.

The troll is trapped below

He is HUGE and the details are exquisite.  The artist (Constance Ernatt) should be commended for her work.  As I snapped pictures, children walked by and timidly asked, “Is it dead???”  I think the fact that the artist gave the troll unkempt toenails says a lot about the thoroughness of the project.

Eww, troll toenails!

The Walking Tour of the River Corridor Project says, “Some legends believe that trolls come alive at night, turning to stone in the daytime.”  I don’t know about night, but when I was first previewing my pictures, I was unnerved to find the troll’s mouth appearing to move.  It turns out, it had to do with my camera angle.  On one side, his mouth is open and on the other it is closed.  Phew!

Mouth open

Mouth closed

If I had thought much about it, I could have found myself self-conscious that I was carrying a camera about, looking like a tourist.  But in this case, it really paid off.  I doubt I would have ever known about the troll otherwise!

September 13, 2007 at 12:18 am 9 comments

Gene Ray and Time Cube EXPOSED!!!

My brother has this real neat book on Native Americans that has a dedicated section on the Iroquois Confederacy and its influence on the United States Constitution.  The book even had a side by side comparison with the Iroquois charter on one side and extremely similiar passages of the U.S. Constitution on the other side.  To my eyes, skimming the section, it did appear like our founding fathers were heavily influenced by the Iroquois principles.

Well today, walking in downtown Wichita, I stumbled upon a more surprising, more shocking discovery of uncredited Native American influence.  I think Gene Ray based his ground-breaking “Nature’s Harmonic 4-Day Time Cube” from the Plains Indians!!!  I passed the following sign near the Arkansas River.  It illustrated and explained the Sacred Hoop of the Plains Indians:

The Sacred Hoop

Equally significant was the number four.  The four quadrants of the hoop were symbolic of the four seasons, four directions, four times of the day and the four elements.

Each quadrant, when placed to correlate with a specific direction, is represented by a unique color, animal, element and plant

The important of the number four.  The quadrants.  The four times of the day!  This is very similiar to one of Gene Ray’s illustrations of how there are actually four days in each rotation of the earth.  Instead of an animal or element representing each quadrant, Gene Ray has Einstein, Bill Clinton, Socrates and Jesus:

Gene Ray explains Time Cube

I’m not saying plagarism.  I’m just saying– the similiarities are shocking.

Of course, I saw no indication the Plains Indians used phrases like “educated stupid”, “snotbrains” or “Biblistic Selfnic Bastardism ” 

Perhaps Gene Ray had some original material after all.  🙂

September 12, 2007 at 11:48 pm 3 comments

Not So Camouflaged Humour

Greetings from Wichita, Kansas!  In our social group, we often repeat lines from movies and TV Shows.  Lines from The Office, Seinfeld, Office Space, Super Bad, and a little bit of The Flight of the Conchords all make it into circulation.  The references are pretty fun and they don’t really get old.  Tonight I have two tales of repetitive humour that doesn’t age as well. 

In high school, my friend Jeremy decided to have a yard sale.  After posting a series of signs around his neighborhood, it started to rain so he had to move everything to the garage.  Parked in the garage was some classic, restored car that belonged to Jeremy’s father.  I can’t remember the make.  Anyway, throughout the day, Jeremy said a number of shoppers would come in and scope out the inventory and then make a joke, “How much for the [car]?  Heh heh heh.”

Jeremy reported that each comedian seemed rather pleased with his joke and had no idea that many, many others said the exact same thing earlier in the day.

And now I have a contemporary memory!  A couple of weeks ago, I used a Gap gift card to buy myself a pair of camouflaged pants.  This increases my already formidable inventory of drab green garments.  I am quite pleased with them and the ratio of the frequency I’ve worn them versus the frequency I’ve washed them may be disturbing to some readers.  So moving on…

New pants, pictured in a hotel bathroom in Wichita, Kansas

Almost instantly, Sean starting cracking jokes.  Stuff like, “Where are your legs?  I can’t see your legs.”  I figured it was Sean being Sean.

This past weekend, I went to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit friends and watch the LSU-VT slaughter.  There, a friend a whole 2 1/2 hours away, made a similiar comment about my pants.

So Monday, I fly to Wichita.  I’m 1000 miles away from home now.  I walk into the hotel and run into a colleague from Texas who promptly announces, “Vicky, I can only see you from the waist up!”

Apparently, camouflage pants are amusing nation-wide.  If you feel this is a tidbit of wit you’d like to utter, never fear.  I remain undeterred!  I expect to wear the pants frequently this fall.  If our paths cross, you’ll get your chance.

That is, if you can see me!

September 12, 2007 at 12:44 am 21 comments

links for 2007-09-11

September 11, 2007 at 12:23 pm 3 comments

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