October 2nd, 2007

Tom Lehrer is Smug

flight denouement

I've just arrived and am, well, dazed. Thanking you for the comments, but I paid enough just to make that post on an airport kiosk with I swear to god IMB PCjr chicklet keys that I couldn't stick around to see any. I slept most of the way through the flight (the in-flight movie was Evan Almighty, yeah, I'm snoozin, later folks) and now Abbie is telling me exactly how he was neglected and mit out food the entire time, etc etc etc. It is good to be home.

I'm going to count the nice things that happened to me on this adventure. This is going to illustrate exactly what is at fault with the airlines and who are not.

1. The ticket agent at ONT who worked a whole lot to find me another Boston flight from Ontario, finally figuring out there'd be none and putting me on the non-stop flight from LAX, and paying for the shuttle.

2. The agent at LAX who tried to find another flight for me as well when it became clear my 1:55 departure wasn't going to be at 1:55. Unfortunately the next flight wasn't until 10:30 or something, and would've gotten in around 6 am. As I am to be at work tomorrow, this was not a solution, nor would a free overnight stay in the Los Angeles Hotel Whatever and a flight the next day. I've already missed about a week's worth of work what with the pre-planned time off and the sick from last week, and we're seriously understaffed as it is.

(Turns out our 1:55 plane developed mechanical difficulties and was deemed not air-safe so they had to wait for another plane to arrive for us. I have no idea where that flight was coming from; I didn't hear. I still have no reason why the DEN-BOS flight was cancelled.)

3. The attendants on the eventual 5:30 flight that said "The booze is on us. You want two? Another?" Sure, throwing bourbon and scotch at me isn't going to fix everything, but it definitely don't hurt.

4. The baggage claim agent in BOS who was the only representative around, yet who was able to give me a $50.00 cab voucher for a taxi back home. It didn't cost nearly that much but I told the cab driver hell, go ahead and charge 'em the full amount as far as I was concerned -- if I didn't really want to get home so soon, I'd have asked for the Scenic Route. I think the cab company's gonna get the $50.00 no matter what and the fare was nowhere near that amount, so I hope the driver gets a hell of a tip.

After posting in all caps and swears and stuff, I'd calmed down pretty much (the ONT-LAX bit I was real easygoing about, hey, no problem, I'll get home an hour later or so, life's an adventure that way sometimes) but even after the news of the delay I was polite to the agents, I was calm and stated the problems that had occurred, and then explained the need that I had -- to get home early, then again to get home early, and then finally to get home without paying my taxi fare since I'd been so inconvenienced. In return, they were polite and courteous and sincerely tried to help. Knowing from customer service, I knew yelling at the agents wasn't going to accomplish anything. They didn't fuck the planes up, they didn't cancel the flight or make the other one late, they were just the sole point of human contact at the airports. (Yelling is only gonna make them mad to and hell, buddy, you want them on your side.)

I've been on the other side of those desks albeit in a different capacity, and I know what can and cannot be done from that perspective. As far as I'm concerned, the people I actually spoke with were courteous and helpful and did what they could to help, even where there was not much that could be done. The airline, on the other hand, is gonna get a letter from me explaining the problems I had. I got home, I'm alive, I'm just gonna be a sonofabitch tomorrow with work and all. Just glad to be back.
Barth Gimble facepalms

(no subject)

Noah and I ransacked his DVR while waiting for Saturday Night Live over the weekend and found he'd recorded Disney's sudden smash hit, High School Musical. Knowing that Disney has indeed found itself a cash cow and are milking all the golden lactate they can from it while the goings-on of its cast (especially the racier goings-on) have found much exposure in the media recently, we decided to give it a look-see to find out what the fuss was all about.

We couldn't even get past the first musical number.

It wasn't that the song was terrible -- it was, mind you -- but the entire thing was so completely contrived that it was quite embarassing to watch. For those who have not heard of this prepubescent phenomenon, Disney's "Disney's High School Musical" is the Disney made-for-TV musical by Disney about a high school musical. You're welcome.

Okay, it features more than that. It features a jock boy and a bookish nerd girl who discover they sing pretty darn well so they audition for their high school musical, running afoul of the two prima donnas who always play the leads, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Will amazing pop singing and slick dance moves beat out the old established guard and -- more importantly -- will the jock boy and bookish nerd girl fall in love, or at least engage in some furtive makeouts during the cast party?

I'm not laying odds on this one. But hey, it's for the kids, the younguns, the hormonal ones who really do believe that furtive making out at cast parties = TLA (IDST). It doesn't mean, however, that the thing has to absolutely stun grown-ups with its illogic, shoddy exposition and crummy plot.

So here we go, firing up the DVR. The show opened with a title card that read CONTRIVANCE #1. No, wait, I'm pretty sure that was a Warhol film. The show opened on a shot of some kind of winter lodge with the title NEW YEARS [sic] EVE. We pan past a party of teenagers who sure look like they're having fun dancing around to no music as that'll be added in post. Then it's time to Introduce The Characters and their Single Specific Character Traits. The dialogue here is almost lifted verbatim:

(INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT)

BOOKISH GIRL'S MOM: Bookish Girl! Put down that book! There's a New Year's Party tonight!

BOOKISH GIRL, WHO DOESN'T LOOK ANYTHING AT ALL LIKE A BOOKISH GIRL: Aw, Mom, it's just getting to the best part!

BOOKISH GIRL'S MOM: I don't care, you can read it later. Now go on down to that New Year's party!

(BOOKISH GIRL leaves. CUT TO:)

(INT. GYMNASIUM - NIGHT)

JOCK'S MOM: Jock Boy! Put down that basketball! There's a New Year's Party tonight!

JOCK BOY: Aw, Mom, I gotta practice! I gotta beat that rival team in the game!

JOCK'S MOM: I don't care, you can practice later. Now go on down to that New Year's party!

(JOCK BOY leaves. CUT TO:)

(INT. PARTY - NIGHT)

ANNOYING ANNOUNCER: Okay, who's next to get up and sing karaoke? Since this is the Contrivance Ski Resort, we're just going to sweep these spotlights around the crowd and hit two random kids.

(TWO SPOTLIGHTS sweep through the crowd and eventually light up JOCK BOY and BOOKISH GIRL, who are currently being LONERS in the crowd. BOOKISH GIRL has even brought along her BOOK.)

ANNOYING ANNOUNCER: Looks like we've got our next two contestants! Come on up and sing this song arbitrarily picked for you!

(The music starts and the JOCK BOY begins to sing, then BOOKISH GIRL joins in. It's a duet, a sappy love duet using such lyrics "the first time I met you" and "I knew it would last forever" and other such tripe. Get it? Because it's the FIRST TIME THEY MET and it's TOTALLY GONNA LAST FOREVER? Sweet Christ, "Summer Lovin" this ain't. But boy can they sing cold, and in perfect harmony with each other, and they didn't even have to stick their fingers in their ears or nothing to get the pitch. WOW!!)

NOAH: So this is what the kids are into these days?

SPATCH: Looks like it.

NOAH: I can't watch this.

SPATCH: Neither can I. Guess it's just not for us.

NOAH: Nope.

SPATCH: Let's watching something more in tune with our demographic.

(NOAH reaches for the remote and brings up the Family Guy Star Wars special, with several episodes of Robot Chicken afterwards. There's some irony in there, I'm sure.)