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Showing posts from January, 2007

"You're important, Daddy."

Late this afternoon, I was busily typing a short article on "Why Stars Twinkle" -- well, that's what it was supposed to be on. I can't talk about why stars twinkle without explaining astronomical "seeing" and adaptive optics and laser guide stars and...
My daughter bounced into the room and asked, "Can we split a grapefruit?" She doesn't always like grapefruit, of course, but when she does... well, she got that from me. When she doesn't like it, that's from her mom, who consistently doesn't.
I replied, "I'm typing an article on why stars twinkle, but I'll be done soon, then we can split one." She looked pleased with the answer, but also impressed that I'd be writing an article on something like that, and, giving me a big hug, gushed, "You're important, Daddy."
"Important to you?" I asked.
"Well... important to me, but important other ways, too," she replied.
I told her …

It was the best of flights, it was the worst of flights...

As part of a trip to visit my parents for my father's birthday, I chose to take Northwest flight 98 from Honolulu to Minneapolis. This flight operated on a DC-10, but the DC-10s were being retired, with the final flight January 7, and I needed several thousand more miles to hit top-tier "Platinum Elite" frequent-flyer status, so I figured I'd go for it. I was able to upgrade to World Business Class on the way to Minneapolis, but not on the way back.The plan was to fly over from Hilo to Honolulu, as usual, spend several hours flying to Minneapolis in a nice seat that goes way back and has a footrest, with good food and movies and all that, then continue from Minneapolis to Philadelphia. (And of course, to repeat the process in reverse, a few days later.)

Of course, the Scottish poet Robert Burns had a thing to say about the best-laid plans...

How to get free flights... without flying! :)

If you've read a few of my posts, or looked at some of my photos you might get the impression that I travel a fair bit. And I won't deny it; my butt was in airplane seats last year for the equivalent of 4+ trips around the globe. And yeah, I get some benefits for flying that much - I spent probably 16,000 miles in first or business class, which is a lot more than I paid for. :) Let's say you're not like me. You're... sane. You don't set foot on four different continents in under three weeks. You don't think it weird to stay home for more than 3 weeks at a time. Airline employees don't greet you with hugs. Most (though not all) of my contacts fall into this "sane" category.
But on the other hand... maybe you're a little envious of the perks. Maybe the idea of flying across the country in first class for little more reason than a birthday party appeals to you.
The good news is, you can get "free" flights - you pay only t…

Daniel is leaving tonight on a plane...

Yes, Elton John lyrics. An opening line that's quite familiar to me, and quite often true. Perhaps too often. So I'm off to Scotland. Off to resume the constant movement and constant change that I call "life" these days. Yeah. The house is the cleanest it's been in a long time (mostly 'cos I took the trash and recycles to where they belong). I've given one of our neighbors a key, in case any of the various people who're interested in looking after or inhabiting it in some way while we're all gone actually pan out. I took way too many bananas to the office, gave some chocolate to a friend, and so on.

I'm sad to be leaving. Maybe because I don't know when I'll return. I might have a chance to visit for a little bit in early April, or late May, or early June, or I might come back for the summer in July... but I honestly don't know yet. Nothing's booked. Nothing's decided that far in advance. I do know that I want to …

2007: Think "Different"

I'm far enough into the new year to have worked my first shift, given my first public talk and had my first global conference call, and in a couple more days, I'll fly my first round trip of the year. I'm getting a little bit of a feel for what lies ahead, and I think the differences between this year and last may be greater than most of my year-to-year differences have been lately. Many things are still up in the air at this point, so I can't really divulge details, but I'm optimistic that most if not all of the changes will be for the better. One thing that's certainly off to a better start than in 2006 is travel, since I managed to earn top-tier elite status in 2006. I'm also looking forward to being based in Scotland with family for at least part of the year. As for everything else... stay tuned!