Into the West

They Don’t Mix Well: Ginger Ale and iPad Pro (12.9″)

While we’re on the topic of travel, I’ve had some friends ask me how I’m liking the gargantuan 12.9″ iPad Pro — or if I even still have it.

Short answer: I don’t. 1

Long[er] answer:

Last July while flying to/from Europe for vacation, anytime the stewardess came by with ginger ale, I had to put the iPad away. I could not fit both the 12.9 inch iPad and my ginger ale on the airplane seat tray tables at the same time.

That is literally what pushed me over the edge: I couldn’t use the iPad and drink ginger ale on a flight at the same time.

As soon as a I got home from vacation, I put that thing up for sale.2 While I do miss it on the occasional weekend for sheet music,3 I’m now using the 9.7″, which does the better job all-around for me.

Bottom line: Don’t mess with my ginger ale~

  1. Which is the answer to both questions: How I like it, and whether I still have it. []
  2. I use Swappa, incidentally. []
  3. and it was GREAT for sheet music, but I don’t play enough to justify it solely for that []

Thanks, United.

A couple of weeks ago I booked a flight with Delta Airlines to an international destination that I’ve been wanting to visit for a while now. For the sake of this narrative, let’s just refer to this place as “Aceland”. 1

The flight had one stop in Minneapolis – St. Paul before my international transfer.

Well… three days after I plunked my credit card down for my plane ticket, I get an email stating that my first flight to Minneapolis was rescheduled/changed/delayed, leaving me with a paltry 41 minute layover to rush across the airport for my flight to “Aceland”. 2

41 minutes for a transfer to an international flight.3

This airline only does one flight a day to this particular destination, so missing the connecting flight would force me to waste away for 24 hours in Minneapolis.4

So I called customer service and kindly asked if they could possibly put me on a different flight.5

The conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m concerned that the 41 minutes is… well… not enough time for me to make the transfer, especially since it’s an international flight.
Agent: Well, the airline policy is that 40 minutes is the minimum necessary time to make an international transfer.
Me: … uh… what
Agent: Yes. Since your transfer is 41 minutes, you should be able to make it. 6
Me: Well, I happened to check, and there is another flight that goes through JFK with a 3 hour layover, and that flight has the exact same cost as mine. Is there anyway to switch me over to that flight?
Agent: Unfortunately, since your current layover is above the 40 minute minimum, that would cost you a fee for a flight change.
Me: … How much is that fee?
Agent: [clicking of keys on keyboard]7 Three hundred forty-nine dollars, sir.
Me: What the… so basically I’m going to lose a day in “Aceland” because there’s no way in heck I’m going to be able to make that transfer in 41 minutes. And the only way to fix that is if I let you guys extort me for another $350?
Agent: …yes that is the bottom line. I am sorry but that is the airline’s policy.
Me: What?!?! This is… ($*&%*#$) Unbelievable.

And that put me in a pretty foul mood for this entire past week. Do I seriously fork up another $350 to preserve day 1 of my long-planned vacation? Or do I start hitting up the gym to practice for my cross-terminal dash in a couple of months? 8

Well the very next day after the above phone convo, there was an incident with United Airlines involving a bloodied-up overbooked passenger.

Mind you, I wasn’t flying with United, but the airlines tend to be very sensitive in competing with one another for PR.9

Four days later, I decided to give Delta customer service another call to give it another shot. Who knows, right?

This time the call basically went like this:

Me: I have a 41 minute layover to make an international flight, which I’m concerned about.
Agent: Hmm. We have a flight that goes through JFK with a 3 hour layover, would you like us to put you on that flight instead?
Me: Would there be a charge for changing my flight?
Agent: Absolutely not.
Me: That would be fantastic.
Agent: Great! I’m emailing you your new itinerary now…

Thanks, United.

  1. Of course it’s not actually named “Aceland”… but don’t worry about it. []
  2. Don’t try to guess. It’s not worth the chase. []
  3. If you’ve never flown internationally… 60 minutes would be more interesting than you’d like. []
  4. Emphasis on the words: “waste away” and “Minneapolis” []
  5. One that was basically not guaranteed to screw me out of a full day of my trip []
  6. Again: horse manure []
  7. or perhaps fake sounds of keys clicking on a fake keyboard…? []
  8. And would my baggage successfully even make the transfer in that short a time? I wonder… []
  9. This bit on using game theory to deal with overbooked flights was an interesting read, I thought. []

Empty shell


I’m a teacher.

And I’m an introvert.1

Many a years I have students ask me how I’m a teacher, but on 99.9%2 of days, it’s just a job that you deal with, and it’s not even a thing.

On 99.9% of days, it’s a job that you really enjoy and look forward to.

But every once in five blue moons or so, you have one of THOSE days.

One of those days where you just want to crawl into your shell and hide under a rock for a month. 3

I had one of those days this week, and boy, when you’re already at the point in the year where it’s damn near impossible to tell the forest from the trees… well. =/

  1. I am *definitely* an introvert. []
  2. I actually took some time to do the math and figure how many “nines” belonged there… []
  3. I suppose we are still within two weeks on either side of Spring Break, which is when just about every teacher questions the meaning of their existence… []

Movies I Saw in 2016

As with the previous two iterations, this is in reverse chronological.1

The tl;dr version is pretty short this year:
La La Land.3
Honorable mention? “The Nice Guys”.

Honestly not the greatest year…4

(Hit up the footnotes for my brief thoughts on each)

The full list:

La La Land5
Rogue One6
Edge of Seventeen8
Doctor Strange9
Keeping Up With The Joneses13
Jack Reacher 214
The Accountant15
Deepwater Horizon16
The Girl On The Train17
Kubo and the Two Strings
War Dogs19
Sausage Party20
Bad Moms21
Star Trek Beyond22
Jason Bourne23
Suicide Squad24
Ghostbusters (2016)
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates25
The Shallows26
Finding Dory27
Neon Demon28
Independence Day: Resurgence30
The Lobster31
X-men: Apocalypse32
The Nice Guys33
Money Monster
Neighbors 234
Captain America: Civil War35
The Jungle Book
Everybody Wants Some36
Batman vs Superblegh37
The Huntsman: Winter’s War38
Midnight Special
10 Cloverfield Lane41
London Has Fallen42
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot43
Where To Invade Next44
Ip Man 345
Hail Caesar47
The 5th Wave48
13 Hours49
The Big Short50
The Revenant51

  1. This time, listing new releases only. []
  2. for the thinker []
  3. for the artsy sentimentalist []
  4. …in movies. I’m talking about movies. … What were you thinking of…? []
  5. I now want a sign that reads: “Seb’s.” []
  6. I approve of Felicity J. []
  7. Sandstorms will never be the same. []
  8. Okay so the part of me that was charmed by “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl” also enjoyed this one. Or maybe it’s just because an Asian dude played the hero. ::shrug:: []
  9. Okay, this was good but really, do we expect any less from Marvel? I distinctly remember thinking to myself about 5 minutes into the movie, “Why can’t DC think up anything half this good?” []
  10. I maintain: Everybody ought to see this movie. Everybody. []
  11. I wish they would have made this a series on Netflix. Two hours of film hardly did this one justice. []
  12. I approve of Felicity J. []
  13. PSA: This movie has nothing to do with Felicity Jones. []
  14. I’m secretly hoping that J.K.’s “Cormoran Strike” novels get turned into movies, and that Tom Cruise stars in them. It’ll never happen, with his height and lack of English accent… but I’m still hoping. []
  15. Did you like John Wick? I suspect Ben Affleck did… []
  16. Super powerful. Gave me a similar degree of feels as “Lone Survivor” []
  17. Entertaining but disjointed []
  18. Typical Tom Hanks []
  19. Typical Jonah Hill. Or is it typical Miles Teller… []
  20. There is nothing typical about this movie []
  21. Yeah, I watched it. []
  22. The motorcycle bit felt odd… []
  23. Sorry, but this sucked. The Jeremy Renner one was better, IMO. []
  24. Just don’t DC. []
  25. I feel like this was a free showing… []
  26. More than just Blake Lively in a bikini. Oh and Galveston looks nothing like that… []
  27. Get your feels-shields up for this one. []
  28. Weird. Hope you’re not eating anything towards the end. []
  29. If you told me that this was the fourth “Hobbit” movie, I would not have been any less confused. []
  30. Be skeptical of any movie that makes it its namesake of the holiday on which it releases. []
  31. Artsy charm []
  32. How did this one end up so bad after the first two of the trilogy?!? It felt like such a waste. []
  33. I really enjoyed this one. []
  34. Chloe G. M. did better than par on this one. []
  35. Basically “Avengers 2.6” []
  36. Apparently Lea Thompson — the mom in Back to the Future — has a daughter that also acts. []
  37. Would you believe me if I told you this was autocorrect? Well I’m not fixing it either way. They should’ve just called the movie “Martha!” []
  38. It was free screening. Jessica C though… []
  39. The shots of Oregon were cool. []
  40. I actually don’t remember if this was good or bad. I didn’t even remember that Gal Gadot was in it until I checked just now! []
  41. Unbelievable 11th hour plot twist. []
  42. If they make a third, it should go straight to XBox []
  43. Tina Fey’s finest hour, it is not. []
  44. Another one that I’d classify in the “everybody should watch this” category. Worth watching. []
  45. Not as good as the second… definitely not as good as the first []
  46. They did well considering the budget. []
  47. George Clooney’s finest hour, this is not. []
  48. I kinda feel bad for Chloe Moretz. I’m pulling for her but she can’t seem to hit a good movie… []
  49. I don’t know what this one scored on Rotten Tomatoes… but if I had to guess, I would guess somewhere in the 50’s or 60’s. And I would say that’s about right. []
  50. Selena Gomez and Margot Robbie for ‘best supporting actress’! []
  51. The first Leo movie that I thought even deserved an Oscar nomination []

Goodbye, Craig

When I was a kid growing up in SoCal, I begged my parents for years to get cable TV so that I could actually watch the Lakers’ home games on Prime Ticket.1

My folks finally decided to give in during the summer of 1991 — just in time for Magic’s retirement. But it was about that time when I learned that there were two cable channels called TNT and TBS that showed a lot of NBA games, and that they had this eccentrically-attired sideline reporter by the name of Craig Sager. He wore weird suits and was kinda… weird. But he’s been reporting since I started watching the NBA.

I just got out of giving my last final exam and hit up a spot I frequent to eat and drink to celebrate the end of a fantastic semester… only to see the sad news of Craig Sager’s passing. If there’s anything I take away from his journey, it’s that he did it his way – and everyone respected him for it.

RIP, Craig.

  1. We were otherwise limited to just watching the road games on KCAL channel 9. []