lovehate: Everything Took a Turn in Charlotte

So I'm stranded in the Charlotte airport after my connector flight from Buffalo and to Las Vegas got cancelled. Not just cancelled mind you, but unceremoniously cancelled 20 minutes before take off in a squelching PA announcement that no one could hear save for the those within earshot of the attendant behind the desk at the gate.

Through a sea of muttering and the breeze caused by a couple of hundred shaking heads, I found my way to the US Air service desk where, after waiting for 10 of my ex-plane mates to get re-routed, I stepped up to the desk.

Admittedly, I presented a bit of a challenge to the woman at the computer as I immediately told her, since I purchased a First Class ticket to accommodate my fat ass not being wedged in the vice-grips of a coach seat, that I only wanted First Class for rerouting...

Let's step back a minute here.

The is the first time I've ever chosen to fly US Air to Vegas. I normally fly Southwest out of Buffalo, but this time decided, instead of the Coach Vice-grips, to splurge a little bit and fly in comfort. That my flight from Buffalo to Charlotte went without a hitch despite the 8:30am takeoff was fantastic. I actually slept for about half an hour while listening to last week's TWiT podcast. Everything took a turn in Charlotte... heretofore known as the title of this blog post.

Back to my re-routing...

After about six minutes of punching keys at a terminal and looking mildly befuddled, the clerk said that the way for me to get to Vegas in First Class would be to fly from Charlotte to Philadelphia at 6pm, then fly from Philly to Vegas at 9pm. The two hour time change would get me to Vegas before midnight MST. Considering I was originally getting to Vegas shortly after noon MST, I've essentially lost 12 hours of my vacation in Vegas to purgatory at the Charlotte airport.

After a mediocre roast beef sandwich discounted by the added value $5 meal voucher from US Air (that's apparently how much 12 hours of my time is worth), I was ready to seek out a table with an outlet and a comfortable seat; here I am.

And so as I sit here wanting to throw my iPhone at the whiny kid at the table beside me, I wonder what would cause the wizards of US Air to cancel a flight so late in the process. In addition to cancelling Vegas, I heard they also cancelled flights to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale at the last minute.

Surely it can't be a maintenance issue. After all this could, at most, be the second flight of the day for this plane. I'm guessing they gave it the once over after landing last night.

Maybe the pilots got ripped in the lounge on mini bottles of Drambuie and Kahlua. Maybe I was unlucky enough to be flying on the day of a FAA crackdown. Maybe the price of gas went up and US Air wanted to save its money for the annual holiday Hootenanny at the Stuckey's in Asheville.

Regardless, I'm here for another 4.5 hours then off to Philly, which is closer to home than Vegas, only to look forward to the 5 hours Vegas flight 2 hours after that. This day could have been so much easier if not for... let's say Drambuie AND Stuckey's.

thinglets: THE Las Vegas Map

As I get set to kite off to Las Vegas, I encourage you to follow the lovehatevegas impromptu podcasts which may start from the airport later tonight.

However, I would also encourage you (if you are a Vegasphile like me) to check out which produced THE map above. When going there, you can track the development going on all over the strip and on Fremont Street. I check it out once a week even when months away from a trip... it's that cool.

Trippy podcasts coming soon. Wish me luck!

thinglets: some bizarre overseas outsourcing

I received a letter from the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas (two weeks after my trip mind you) confirming my credit line had been approved. Perhaps what some would consider a bit late, but stranger than the timelines was the return address. I never thought of Malmo, Sweden (or anywhere in Sweden mind you) as a clearinghouse of bulk mailings. Is there a burgeoning cottage industry in Vegas mail coming out of Northern Europe? I hesitate to think of the distances this paper would have traveled had I not been at this address anymore.

Just some quick facts:

Las Vegas to Hamilton, Ontario - 3107km, 
Hamilton, Ontario to Malmo, Sweden - 6354km, 
Las Vegas to Malmo, Sweden - 8713km

lovehate: The Vegas Experiment

Heading off on a semi-annual sojourn to Las Vegas at week's end, I'm excited at the prospect of two things:

  1. Staying at a far higher class of establishment than I normally frequent, thanks to the recession and four comped nights at The Palazzo.
  2. Trying to experiment in "trip report" podcasting during the days I'm there via my iPod Touch, the Voice Memo App, and any wi-fi connections I can find. LOVE that Posterous is going to make this process so simple!

In my 5th post to the lovehatethings blog over a year ago, I pondered the incredible waste that goes on in Las Vegas in an attempt to sound unsure about whether or not I could justify the gluttony... it was, mostly, tongue-in-cheek even though the over-the-top nature of the town is legendary.

In that post I opined:

They've got a lightbulb that planes can see from Los Angeles. They've killed thousands of trees a year to produce laminated cards that seedy characters whack on their leg, advertising silicon-laden escorts that'll do the macarena or the Dirty Sanchez. They've totally thrown scale to the wind by creating hotel/casinos that are measured in square miles and when the MGM Grand's 5000 rooms seemed insurmountable, the Venetian built a second tower (The Palazzo) to bring its total to a mere 7000!

You can lose your 20, 50, or 100 dollar bill in the time it takes to steal a glance at the scantilly-clad cocktail waitress that is bringing your free mojito as the blackjack dealer draws a 5 on her 16 after you've doubled down your 11 and pulled a 9.  You inhale the second hand smoke from an entire carton of Kools while walking 10 feet through the Gold Spike's penny slot aisles. You can play golf at an 18 hole course ON THE FREAKIN' STRIP while over the property wall homeless Las Vegans beg for change.

So as I prepare to return back to Vegas for another summer excursion, I thought I'd do something different. If everything goes as planned you'll be able to follow my special "lovehatevegas" podcasts on at least a daily basis. Hope you like them. I'm guessing there may some short blog posts as well, or at least as long as the mini Touch keyboard will allow.

If you love Vegas, like I do, hopefully you'll find something in the updates that resonates and allows you to have some good memories. If you've never been to Sin City, maybe you'll find something in the podcasts or blog entries that spurs a desire to go. I don't mind being considered a shill for Vegas. Even if you're not a gambler, You've got to go there at least once.

Thanks to everyone who follows lovehatethings. Keep your eyes and ears open starting Sunday!

lovehate: My Summer Bucket List

Below is my summer "bucket list" - i.e. things to do before summer kicks the bucket.

  • Think of a better name for this list than "bucket list"
  • Get back to Las Vegas and find a way to break the bank and come home with enough money to fund a winter trip to Vegas.
  • Spend ample time deciding whether I should get an iPhone.
  • Reassure myself that my decision to not buy a BluRay DVD player is completely justified because the cost is still too high for its own good, and even though I own a couple hundred DVDs, I never watch them.
  • Try to regain the same blogging output that I had last summer when lovehatethings first started. (Two weeks until the first anniversary!)
  • Try to encourage more of friends that Twitter is about way too much more than lifestreaming for them to use that as an excuse to stay away.
  • Catch up on the latest seasons of Weeds, Burn Notice, Ashes to Ashes, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and True Blood.
  • Go to see some late night movies... I wish they started at midnight - 10:30 is too early for this night owl.
  • Get on the ball and reserve a night for my 3rd annual Backyard Film Festival.
  • Book a gig so that my gracious friends who keep asking me to play are kept happy for another six months.
  • Find a cheap source of watermelons. Those things are like crack in the summer; gotta have my fix.
  • Play some poker with friends and at the closest casino.
  • Try at least five local restaurants I've never checked out.
  • Do at least one day of buying rush tickets for Stratford and checking out a couple of plays.
  • Find things that really piss me off... it helps the podcast rants so much.
  • Start to write the Great American novel and then give up in a violent fit having drowned myself in a sea of bourbon.
  • Start to read Finnegan's Wake... and then give up in a violent fit having drowned myself in a sea of bourbon.
  • Do annual summer viewings of Dazed and Confused, Almost Famous, Big Fish, a Kevin Smith marathon, and, if the moment moves me, a John Hughes marathon.
  • And last, but not least, read the books that have been gathering dust on the shelves for far too long.