Sunday, November 14, 2010


Obligatory Photo
So, I just flew back from Texas, and boy, are my arms tired. Ha, that joke never gets old, does it? Yeah, I know. "Loser." I'm okay with that. I did just get back from Texas though, and I have a few observations and opinions I'd like to share.

First off, air travel has really become a HUGE pain in the ass. I don't know what policies the airline companies have for their executives, but if I was king (and I'd like to be), I'd ensure that all airline executives flew at least once a month, on their respective air planes, in coach, and boarded in Group 6.

Lecture Hall
I have no idea how these groups are determined. I'd think that you'd want to load the plane from the back and fill in the window seats first, but that does not seem to be the case. I do know that the people in the earlier seating groups have first shot at filling the overhead compartments with as much crap as they can, leaving the later seating groups with little or no room. I also know that later seating groups still have to squeeze down the aisle and past people already seated on the aisle seats. To me, this just doesn't make sense.I also hate being paraded by the "First Class" passengers like a side show.

The next thing that doesn't make sense is how the airlines expect passengers to have any level of comfort when there is almost no leg room, and certainly no arm room. If I had purchased a meal, and if I had to cut any food, my elbows would be in the armpits of those next to me. And with my knees touching the seat in front of me, any reclining the passenger in front of me does just further limits my range of motion.

And what about the inefficiencies in the security lines? We should have those grey plastic tubs available as soon as we enter the line, in an effort to encourage people to be a little prepared. People wait to the very last minute to remove their shoes, take out their gels/liquids, take out their laptops, put their keys and cell phones away… how hard is it to be a little prepared? I'm not criticizing the TSA's efforts at keeping air travel safe, but there should be more than a table length of prep area to get your stuff ready for screening. Oh, and thanks to the airlines charging for checked luggage, more travelers (myself included) are trying to bring more as carry-ons. That I do blame on the airlines.

Okay, enough about the annoyances of air travel. I will just say that no longer is getting there, "half the fun."

Now, let me bitch about Texas. I hate Texas. I've been through the Lone Star state a couple of times, and I've been told that there are some great parts to the state, but I haven't seen them, and I don't anticipate going back to find them.

The Majestic View
I was in Fort Worth for a CME convention so the majority of my time was spent in a lecture hall. In my free time, I searched and searched for signs of fresh fruits and vegetables, only to find some bananas in a convenience store. Now, I can't lay all the blame on the entire state, but it was bit disheartening to find french fries, mashed potatoes, fried green beans or rice & beans as the main vegetables offered in the restaurants. And I don't just mean the restaurants in my hotel, I did walk around quite a bit, only to find lots or bars, BBQ restaurants and steak houses. Admittedly, I stayed away from the pricier restaurants… do I need to spend $30 on a plate to get veggies?

I asked the concierge at my hotel if there were any grocery stores nearby within walking distance (I even specified that I could actually travel a couple of miles on my feet), and she immediately asked, "are you looking for fresh fruits?"

"Yes," I said, and then I was informed that there were none easily accessible, and that they could arrange a cab for me because I'd need to cross the highway.

Can you see one of the cases presented?
I said no, and went on my way. The restaurants had a great selection of beef and burgers with an occasional nod towards chicken--fried that is. Who doesn't love a burger and fries? I certainly do, but as an occasional treat, not my best option of cost vs convenience for a nightly meal. I was able to get grilled chicken as a substitute, and after scraping some of the slathered on cheese, it wasn't half bad.

I once met a guy from Texas when I was in Milan. He actually ate at McDonalds while in Italy, and one night while talking about the amazing fresh vegetables at all of the eateries, he said, with a perfect southern accent, "I don't eat no vegetables." Maybe he was just a product of his environment and not a complete tool as I initially opined. Maybe both. Anyway, as sad as it was, I couldn't wait to get to the airport for some diversity in my menu options.

Aside from my bitching about the hassles of air travel and the difficulty in eating healthy foods while traveling, I did have a good time at the convention. The speakers were good and the topics were relevant. I will note, that the hotel had set the hall up so that the tables had power strips so the attendees could utilize laptops for the presentations, rather than printed handouts, but that initially the power strips weren't working. As a complete nerd, I brought my own extension cord and power strip and was able to offer power to my whole table. And, as the hall did NOT have WifI, my Droid provided a mobile hot spot, so I was set.

All in all, I'm glad to be home. Jean was on the road before I left, so we were like the proverbial ships passing in the night, as opposed to the proverbial luxury ship drifting in the Pacific.

Now, I just need a good day on the bike, and all will be well...

Oh... the painter of cheesy paintings...

Oh, and by the way, let it be known, that my "days off," are not necessarily fun filled and free...


Glen Gollrad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glen Gollrad said...

Texas leaves a lot to be desired - but in my travels - there are gems to be found everywhere. Even in Ft. Worth. Just not fresh fruits and vegetables, apparently.

The Kimbell Art Museum is one of my top-5 all time favorite pieces of Architecture in the USA. Otherwise, one has to dig deep to find much to remember in the Dallas - FW area.

I bet there 'cross scene blows too!

Anonymous said...

Hidden gems? The stretch of Texas between the NM state line and OK is awesome. At night. Sleeping.

Welcome back Big D!

Andy said...

Wow, a whole new Dave!

"I hate Texas." I can't wait for Renee to read this!

Renee said...

O.K. I'm a bit behind in my Blog reading, but I finally came around to this. I admit there is much to be desired about Texas, and yes they do have some issues with fresh unprocessed foods. On the other hand, if you haven't checked out the Hill Country around Austin, as well as Austin itself, then you HAVE missed out. It's more like Boulder with a hilly desert landscape. There are other gems too. Rob can testify.