Monday, August 13, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, The Journey Home

This one's been long in coming, only because I've been so involved in other activities, and have some really frickin' exciting news. Which I'm saving 'til next time.
` First, this post, because I was supposed to finish this last week and found things other than sitting in front of my computer more important. Since it's been so long, my memory isn't the greatest, and so the epic photos from the plane will have to tell most of the story:

Monday, July 16, 2012:

It was only the previous day that I had learned of the hotel's free shuttle to the airport, so I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to Leonard, checked out of the hotel, and found myself waiting side-by-side with Rich, one of the TAM-goers I'd had huge amounts of conversation.
` We were talking about this and that, and wondering if we'd missed the last shuttle, when Hyunwoo, which I recall from the Cards Against Humanity game, pulled up in a rental mustang and offered us a ride. Lucky us!I crammed myself into the tiny backseat quite nicely.

TAM 290 - In the back of Hyunwoo's rental Mustang

The car's GPS got us to the airport without a glitch, where Rich and I got our boarding passes, took our shoes off and all for BagScanning time, carried on a TAM-related conversation with one of the airport employees by the screens that have all the flights listed, and went up to the general vicinity where our planes would be leaving -- yes, there are slot machines there as well, as you can see:

TAM 291 - At the airport

Although we had different flights, the gates were near each other, so we sat side-by-side, showing one another our photos from the trip:

TAM 292 - Sitting next to Rich

I was pretty hungry, so I got myself a big friggin smoothie from a nearby kiosk -- mangoey, yogurty goodness! -- and put two straws in it so I could share it with him:

TAM 293 - Shared smoothie with Rich

I also ran into Sachie, the nice lady who buyed me tha sushi!! She is so cool!

TAM 294 - Hokelele mom

Here's a shot I took whilst taking off from Vegas. Bye, Vegas!

 TAM 295 - Leaving Vegas
And my crazy dad never knew I was anywhere near his house!

I was sitting between a guy from Germany and another guy who I think was from some Asian country. (Which one, not sure -- all Asian countries look so alike!) I kept peeking at the German guy's screen, trying to read the news in German and finding most of the words familiar.
` As I recall, I didn't do much listening to podcasts, either, but instead focused most of my attention on the cloud-splotched desert:

TAM 296

There were also some rivers:

TAM 298

And a lake:

TAM 300

Here's a better view of it:

 TAM 302 
Here's me, glued to the view out the window:

TAM 303

As the plane was coming up on Phoenix, we could see another plane coming in for a landing:

TAM 304

Here's an even closer view as both planes converged on the airport:

TAM 305

Here's a friggin' ace shot!

TAM 306

Once at the Phoenix airport, I thought to get a photo of myself with my pack on my back and my laptop bag in front:

TAM 307

It was hard to get both my backpack and my laptop bag in the same picture, so here's another angle, in which I look a bit rodent-like.

TAM 309

Looking at these pictures, it seems a bit strange that I was walking around with all that weight on me without looking the slightest bit bogged-down, despite how tired I was at the time.
` I was also somewhat dehydrated and hungry, especially since I had barely had a sizeable meal in Vegas (on account of my innards being annoying), so I stopped at this bar that served fairly nice Mexican food for some soup and sangria -- also, I recorded a secret video, but it's too weird to show you here. Maybe YouTube.

TAM 311 - Me at PHX airport bar

In order to keep myself awake, I proceeded to talk and joke with some of the other folks sitting near the gates, even in Spanish. They went off on one flight while I was on my way back up north, past Las Vegas, to Seattle -- because stopping over in Phoenix is the most straightforward way to get from Vegas to Seattle, right?
` Once on the plane, I thought that perhaps I would be the only person in my row until a woman sat down in the window seat. She looked nervous, so I asked her if she wanted to trade seats with me, but she said she didn't.
` When everyone was finally on the plane, still no one sitting between us in the row, I struck up a conversation and she told me that she hated flying, especially takeoff, so I offered to trade seats again and this time she agreed.
` I was able to keep up my boisterous conversation and encouraged her to not freak out upon the plane's ascent.

TAM 312

How's this for strange -- the flight attendants don't take cash! Therefore, I was able to cheer up the woman even more by using my card to pay for her two Budweisers while she paid me $14 cash. Yes, beer is insanely expensive on a plane, I guess because there aren't any nearby bars.

TAM 314

I was impressed at my ability to use charm and humor for bringing this woman out of her shell so that she wasn't so freaked out by the fact that both of us were sitting in an aluminum tube that was screaming across the sky above the desert hills:

TAM 316

I don't remember this woman's name, but she said that she lived in Vegas (and had taken a later, and more turbulent flight than me into Phoenix), but originally was from Western Washington, and was returning for a few days in order to attend a funeral.
` I made sure that she knew my name and blog title, and all about TAM as well, for future reference. I also babbled on about stupid stuff as well, as I was tired. Tired and also occasionally scanning the desert for small towns:

TAM 317

My favorite part (and the woman's least favorite) was probably the turbulence, which spilled my water, and which I thought to get a video of:

Pretty soon, she was relieved when the plane began its descent, and when there were cool mountains to take pictures of, like Mount St. Helens:

TAM 319

Here we are positioned right above the ridge of the mountain chain:

TAM 320

I got another closeup:

TAM 321

And another one, at a noticeably different angle:

TAM 322

Here's the mountain receding into the background:

TAM 323

We continue to get farther away as we pass over the foothills of Mount Rainier:

TAM 324

And there, through the clouds, is Ranier. It's huge!

TAM 325

I zoomed in to get some extreme close-ups:

TAM 327

This one's not quite so extreme:

TAM 328

This one isn't extremely close at all:

TAM 330

Here's a horizontal shot instead of a vertical one, complete with a reflection off the glass:

 TAM 332

Even farther away, we have a lovely patchwork on the hills:

TAM 335

And a slow, sluggish river:

TAM 336

Pretty soon, we were flying over Seattle, and I thought to take a video -- my camera finally focused in the midst of flying over a watery area:

Here's a nice shot over the suburbs towards the San Juan Islands:

TAM 339

Finally, here's the plane actually touching down at SeaTac:

I called Superhero Lou Ryan to make sure he was on his way to the airport to pick me up, and he was. He arrived with yogurt and lemonade, which I ate and then kept falling asleep while he went on about what had been going on while I was gone, and how he had broken off doing business with Random (who owed him a lot of frickin' money, to boot).
` Since I'd had probably all of eight hours of sleep during my five-night stay in Vegas, I kept drifting off into TAMDreams. I'd be sitting in the car, and then would see James Randi, or Joshie Berger, or Eugenie Scott, and then Lou Ryan's voice would wake me up again.

Once I got home, I greeted my cat, Vada, and my kitten, Dilly, who was noticeably larger than last time, and talked to the neighbors across the fence (while Dilly climbed the screen). As I recall, I also talked to Brianade about how cool TAM was.
` Dilly could not keep herself away from me, though -- here she is behind the sheet that blocks out the hot sun from my office window:

TAM 341 - Dilly wants to play

Soon after that, I went to bed and didn't wake up until late the next morning, despite the fact that I didn't have to battle with jet lag. All I can say is, with all the people I've met, TAM was a life-changing experience and OMG THANKS RANDI, I LOVE YOU FREVR!!!!

My life changed even more, however, once I got back! To be continued...


  1. The thing was, after I dropped you two off the airport, I headed to the Grand Canyon.

    And it rained...

    -_-;; five hours driving to see rain like hell broke loose.


  2. Hey Sequin...
    Howdy Hi......:-)

  3. Thanks for letting me vicariously follow you around. I'm glad that Mount Saint H. was behaving when you flew over her.


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