Various Shots from Work + 1 New Guy Named Jakob

The beginning of this year brought on an onslaught of weather to the eastern seaboard and of course, I got to fly into it, around it and enjoy the flurries.  I really can't admit that I it was all joyous work, but it's all in the job description.  It's what we are trained to do and must do to bring you safely from Atlanta to who knows where.  Here are some shots; one with snow, one at night w/ the moonlight + Venus, and two others one of Atlanta Downtown followed by the Atlanta airport at night viewed from 11,000 feet. All these shot below were taken in the month of January.

Since I was fortunate to have two awesome flight attendants with me during a 40 hour stay in Allentown, Pennsylvania, we rented a car early morning and ventured out to three different vineyards, a chocolate factory as well as the local mountain to check out the slopes.  The vineyards were quite awesome, friendly and the various ambiances' were definitely different from the traditional ones here in Southern California.  For one, we don't have Ice Wine nor a freezing lake next to a cottage.  Peep these.

Sometimes, when I'm sitting in the back of a plane, non-revving, I'm able to snap some awesome up close pics.  Here is the airTran Atlanta Falcons themed Boeing 717 and one of Delta's newly modified 767 with winglets!  What do you think of these?

Something even more cooler...two of my very good friends, Kurt, who happens to be one of my groomsman and also shares the same birthday, July 28th, had his first child, Jakob with his lovely wife Krysti. Check out the happy father and son!

Whirlwind of Work

This post is brought to you by:LogTenProBanner2008It's been a crazy tour of duty / flying the last couple weeks. From jumpseating almost every week back and forth to San Diego, taking care of the honey who caught the flu bug, food tasting for the wedding and the latest drama with my car's battle against a pole traveling at 5MPH and don't forget doing some work for my podcast, peak interest, I'm a little over-worked. I'm loving every minute of it without a doubt but my personal time has been limited as of late. I'm just glad that I'm able to use some inflight WiFi brought to you for FREE by eBay, Delta and gogoinflight! Thanks guys!

Here are some pictures from work over the last few days. (make sure to click on the pics for a larger / full photo) flying in the early morning...or late afternoon?! flying over who knows where...it's flat! a bright early, crisp morning same shot in the early morning the sun still barely creeping the ATL Control Tower in the background & my aircraft

I finally had some time and configured an affiliate link to introduce you to Coradine's LogTen Pro for Mac and iPhone! If you plan on buying it, it'd help me out if you used the link below. Check it out! It's the best in the ENTIRE industry. I'd even recommend that you buy an Apple / Mac computer just to use this awesome piece of software and an iPhone to pair it with for immediate logging of flight time!

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The Last Month

The month of September ended in a whirlwind of vacationing, moving and surviving the slew of mosquito bites that I suffered both from Nicaragua and Atlanta. The last week in September was dedicated to moving, but after a great night of splurging at Taco Mac with some good pilot buddies, my roommate and I still hadn't made a final decision on where we would end up. Eventually being forced to move out of our apartment because the management ended up renting it out to a couple of college girls, we were lucky to be able to negotiate for a "non-upgraded" 2 bedroom, two bath for even cheaper than what we were paying in the same complex! The non-upgraded tag once specifies that it has black appliances rather than white ones, but you can't tell the difference at all anyways. We now have a pool view, and a 1-year lease for $818/mo (that's actually $750 + their fees for water / sewer / garbage, etc). I think we definitely scored as we're also closer to the front of the property making it so much easier to access the huge trashbin, Starbucks across the street, my favorite Cuban restaurant Coco-Loco, as well as Best Buy and the MARTA. I'm happy with the place and I'm just happy that my roommate, Mark Russell and I have a place that we both like a lot. Dealing with Comcast in trying to get the cable line activated was a little bit of a cluster, but apparently, it was disconnected within our apartment!? I guess it would have made sense for them to send out a mechanic guy to our apartment rather than just assuming turning it on from the outside was all they would need to do.

I finally made it back to San Diego by way of ATL-PHX-SAN and the last leg was great. Southwest is always just really friendly, but I have to admit that the two Delta pilots were great company for the 3.8 hrs in the jumpseat. Thanks for the ride guys!

For now, I'm just excited to be back home but there is so much to do when it comes to cleaning up my desk space, taking my bike out for a ride and hanging out with my favorite girl!

In the meantime, check out my new favorite drink at http://elijahnicolas.posterous.com/favorite-new-drink-and-turtwig-on-a-couch-at and the relaunch of the "peak interest" podcast at www.peakinterest.net or via iTunes.

Passport Renewal / Red Eye / Moving

All of the above (Passport Renewal / Red Eye / Moving) followed by a two day trip (not that bad) and a 4 day trip is going to make for a long, laborious next 7 days. I'm "caffeinating" while waiting for my passport to be ready at 1300.  It's great that I get a 1 day turn around but that consisted, so far, waking up at 3:30AM, driving to the LA Federal Buidling at 4:00 arriving at 6AM & hanging out till a little past noon then driving back to San Diego.  Def. not looking forward to the drive back.  This Starbucks, btw, has a TON of traffic.  Not just any regular traffic, but you see all kind of peeps from LA trendy, UCLA students both undergrad and med, scrubbie (litterally dressed in hospital scrubs) to peeps like me burning time.  It's a good place to people watch. *drinking venti caramel mach w/ soy and extra caramel*

I had to reserve a uHaul truck [deets: 10ft / in-town for $19.99 plus $0.99/mile] which stinks because all I'm really moving is a couch and television and a few boxes.  Maybe more than just a few (13 or so) but I'm going to have to pack, load, unload once I get in from the red eye at 6:00AM, pick up the truck at 8AM and try to complete the cleaning up process by noon on Saturday.  That's not to mention the fact that I have to setup shop in the crashpad forcing a trip to IKEA to buy a twin bed set.  This business is all going to be accomplished w/ little sleep due to a red eye schedule (DL 1048 SAN-ATL) Glorious day without a doubt. Going to have to run on some Red Bull and 5-hour energy.  Where's a retail FRS shop when you need one? <-- not that I've taken FRS yet, but it seems like it's a great product?!

Sandals – Montego Bay: The Arrival

Over the next week,we're here! I’ll be writing about the experience that Adelle and I had over the 4 night / 5 day vacation we had in Jamaica. I chose to split it up into a three part review starting out with the overall Resort Experience, Casual and Formal Dining and Amenities. Below is the narrative. We landed at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica after a quick 2.5 hour flight from Atlanta, Ga. Making our way towards customs, we thought that our processing would go by rather quickly, but instead we endured a long one hour wait which included some entertainment particularly a fight between two older women about letting their families cut in line. It went on for a good 10 minutes before the locals separated them but it was definitely close to escalating into a slap fight.

When we excited the baggage and customs area, we entered a lobby where the resorts had taken up shop creating a welcoming experience for their guests. It basically consisted for a lounge where Red Stripe Beer was free flowing; our bags were taken care of by the airport valet (gratuity not included, and it was totally unnecessary); other colas were available and some fresh fruits on the table if you got their early enough before the other tourists ravaged the tray. Our bus arrived quickly and to our surprise, the Sandals Resort at Montego Bay was relatively close. A 10 minute drive was nothing compared to what the others were talking about. Some of the other Sandals resorts were as far out as 1.5 hours in a van, but I was glad that ours consisted of 10 minutes of driving on the left hand side of the road. As a side note, the booking agent made sure that we knew that all gratuities on the resort were included as it was dubbed an All Inclusive Resort but all the little things such as the van ride to the hotel, valet baggage service and the little knick knacks here and there are NOT Included and they make sure to tell you that they work on tips. Not that I spent too much, but I was a little surprised.

Our bags were taken from us and put aside while we were escorted to another lounge within the resort where they gave us a lemongrass cold face towels, some champagne and a “membership card” along with our “upgraded room” packages. They make it seem that we were special and got the upgraded accommodations, but it really just seems all like a little thing to spruce up your enjoyment from the get go. The card that they gave us had Deluxe upgraded to Honeymoon Waters Edge printed on it. We were definitely grateful for it as our room included a jetted tub, mini bar (which was included) a king size bed and a view of the ocean from out small balcony. Sandals makes it a point that everything gets billed to your room so that your don’t have to carry too much around which is a nice detail but then again, without the exchange of cash or cards, you can easily end up spending a lot more than your initial vacation budget. Housekeeping surprised us by cleaning out our room twice a day and we only caught them once! I guess it makes sense that they would tidy up the place that often due to the frequent showers and swims at the beach but it became a game to guess when they would come because they really were good at keeping out of sight.

We got to the resort around 1400 and were excited to hit the beach and explore so we did. Walking around the main lobby, there was an activities board that was updated daily, a spa desk for the expensive massages that couples get (we opted out) tourism desk (also for expensive tours that we were advised against) three different restaurants and a pool that was always closer to the freezing readout. I taught Adelle how to swim two days in row so that she could pass the swim test prior to the scuba dive, so we had a lot of time in the pool. I can’t say that I ever warmed up.

Once on the sand, there is a hut that provides an assortment of blended cocktails and drinks on one side and a grill aptly named “Irie Grille” on the opposite side. More on that later. Along the beach, there are Hobbie Cats (quick little sail boats), paddle boats, one wind surfing board, 4 2-seat kayaks, a designated swim area, glass bottom boat that gives hourly tours, the scuba boat that goes out twice a day and a large catamaran (not included). There are plenty of white beach lounge chairs some under huts and some not, a couple of “exclusive” mattresses that couple can rent out, and a piano-pool side bar on the far east end of the resort. There’s also a basketball court, beach and pool volleyball, an oversized chess piece set on a smaller than standard board, shuffle board and a little bench swing. More to come soon!

hello jamaica

Up in the Air Again

I'm finding myself having to ride Mainline Delta quite a bit more these days as my AirTran options have diminished from 4 flights a day to San Diego from Atlanta to only one or two and even an occasional none.  It's a little frightening on how it will impact my commute as the Delta flights are pretty much always impacted and oversold, but I guess I'll have to make due.  My schedule for October is going to be as financially successful due to the lack of available trips to pick up and the fact that I had to cut one of my trips in half to an obligation in Fulton County.  If you forgot already, I'm set for a court appearance in relation to my speeding ticket that I got a couple of weeks back while driving to the airport. 

This is only my 3rd time using Qumana, a free blog editor for Mac OSX and I have to admit that I sometimes find the interface much more accommodating than the Windows Live Writer.  The reason for the transition back to using my Powerbook Ti is because I miss it.  It's the truth but the 667 MHz is sometimes just frustrating.  The battery life is long lasting and the size is great but the 30Gb hard drive also is a handicap.  I wish that I just had two good computers to use and stick with instead of being all over the place.  I have a broken HP dv1000 laptop at home that needs to be diagnosed (might need a new hard drive), a dual Pentium 3 1GHz tower that I've had for years which should still run, but I have no clue why it's not booting up and a box of parts sitting in Atlanta waiting to be put together. 

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The 100 Credit Month!

I'm commuting on Delta Flight 1038 from SAN to ATL trying to get to my last two day trip of the month.  September concludes with my schedule being completed @ 89% on-time arrivals and departures and the awesome fact that I was able to break the 100 hour credit mark!  The Captain was an awesome character to fly with as we always went out and enjoyed the town.  We always had some lunch or dinner with great conversation and even visited some random places like the mall in downtown Stamford, Connecticut or Orange Country Choppers in Newburgh, New York.  It was one of the best months that I have had here at ASA.

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The paycheck on the 15th of October is something that I'm really looking forward to!  I've been working hard with the commute and all so hopefully it will it will pay off in one way or the other! :)  You have to realize that I usually get credited about 70-80 hours a month and with the extra ~20 hours, it's going to boost my pay about a third of my usual.  I'm young right so I should be trying to do this each month, but it just really depends if you could hack it.  Exhaustion is something that I hate feeling, but when you fly with a good crew and have good trips, it only adds to the pleasure. 

Being back home in San Diego more and more helps out in the "being grounded" feeling department but with the split of our crashpad in February, finding another place in Atlanta is up in the air.  I'll have more on the living situation later but being with friends during the weekend in San Diego helps in recuperating the lost time. 

With the impending launch of a new Macbook Pro, rumored to be announced on the 14th, my paycheck is going to be accounted for.  I've been waiting for almost 7 years now and am in bad shape with my Titanium Powerbook 667.  (I've been mainly using my IBM T43p on trips though so it hasn't been that bad)