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We had a decent storm pass through tonight and I thought I'd try to shoot some lightning. I missed a few during the 4-second record cycle between 8-second exposures, but I managed to capture 2 really good ones and a few smaller ones, plus many of a glowing sky but those are boring. Here are the 2 good ones:

And I had a busy day... I got up at 6:30 to head over to RIT by 7:30 to help out with the graduation flower sale. I worked the tent all day from the first ceremony at 8:30am until after the second ceremony let out and dissipated around 2pm. Sales went very well, and it was loads of fun. :) Suzy and Molley were in the tent with me all day as well, and Bob, Ryan, and Jason also helped out at various times. I was actually supposed to stay until 3pm but I had to be at home with my family by 3pm for my dad's and grandfather's birthdays, so I took off at 2pm. Sales had died down and we only had about 5 roses left (out of 85 dozen or so, and about the same number of carnations were sold out)... so I wrapped one up to bring home with me. We also had an ENORMOUS amount of "decorative green" ferns left over, so I grabbed a whole bundle of those as well, and headed home.

I forgot to take off the tape strip dispenser strapped to my wrist. Oops. :)

So I came back to my apartment and got changed quick and headed home. I didn't ge there 'til 3:15, but I guess I didn't miss much. Actually, people just sat around talking and stuff for about 2 hours. I kinda felt bad leaving my friends to clean up after the flower sale so I could just come home and sit around... but when I talked to Suzy later she said clean-up was a breeze because they just left most of the stuff there to be thrown out. (Thanks, Facilities Management!) So I don't feel too bad for that now.

So we watched Shrek and Star Wars 1 on DVD on my brother's 32" flat HDTV he brought home to leave with mom and dad while he's working at a clinic out in AZ for a year. The picture quality on that thing rocks. :) Jamie's 36" flat TV is bigger but what good is that if it's not HDTV, and you see all these ugly scan lines? :)

People went in the back yard to throw frisbees and a ball around, then went in to eat when the food was done grillin'. Had ice cream cake, opened cards, etc.

My mom gave me (well, told me about) my birthday present a little early... My birthday isn't until June 11th. But on June 10th my parents are leaving on a trip for like 5 weeks or so, and on the 28th they'd be in Boise. My birthday present? Plane tickets to go out and visit there. :) My brother would fly up from AZ, too. How cool is that?

I don't even remember ever being on a plane. My mom says I was on one once when I was like 1 year old... it was this big yellow thing that looks like a banana, according to the pictures in the photo album. I'm all excited about finally getting to fly, but I wish my first time could be with someone so they can tell me what to do and expect. :) I mean, do they do stuff in a way that even someone who has never flown before could understand, or do they rely on people knowing the rules and procedures of riding a plane from having done it so much? I actually have the same anxiety about riding a city bus... something else I've never done alone. Mainly because I've never had a reason to, but what if someday I do? My only knowledge of things like riding in planes and city buses comes from what I see in movies and on TV, and they tend to focus on the significant/interesting parts of the experience, such as bad things that happen, everything going wrong that possibly can, stupid people doing the wrong thing and people laughing at them, etc. For example, on Seinfeld, Elaine gets stuck riding coach and has to use the bathroom, then they serve food and she can't get back to her seat because the food cart fills the aisle, so the flight attendant gets all snotty saying "you're not supposed to get up during the food service!" and tells her she'll have to wait. Then she sits down and find that she didn't receive a meal. And the guy sitting next to her says "you know, you're not supposed to get up during the food service." Ok, I realize this is all an exaggeration to make for a funny sketch on Seinfeld, plus that show is old and things have probably changed, but still, if that's ALL I have to go by, how am I supposed to avoid getting filled with anxiety about ending up in similar situations? It all boils down to your first time needing to be with someone (usually a parent) who guides your action and behavior so you don't do anything bad/stupid/wrong/embarrassing. I just don't like the idea of relying on the crew and nearby passengers to fill that parental roll for me on my first time.

My mom will probably see this. Hi, mom. :) All of this doesn't mean I don't want to go... Of course I want to go! :) I'm just writing out my feelings about it because it's probably good for me or something. Like, if it came up in conversation and someone asked, "Oh, you're gonna fly for the first time? How do you feel about that?", this would be my response.

Well anyway, it's really late (early?) and I had a really long day. I've been awake for 20 hours now, 6 of them on my feet. Time to remedy that. :)

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Really, a plane ride isn't that much different from a bus ride except that planes are generally later than buses. ;) Well, and the whole elevation thing too but hey.

LOL... well I'm not concerned about the physical aspect of flying... just the social aspect. If I didn't need to deal with other people, I would be fine with it. :)

Just hope you don't get sat next to the um... larger people... and you have a window seat... with the little kids behind you. ;)

lol - see my reply to Zette. :)

Are you saying a window seat would be BAD? I think I'd like it. :) I won't need to get up during the flight... but if I get an aisle seat, I could probably be guaranteed that someone in my row will need to crawl over me to use the bathroom. heh

Hey mom, this is a birthday present, right? How about first-class? hehehehe

The window seat can be bad pending the amount of room you have in your seat. ;) Hence the larger people comment. Seating in a plane is kinda like sitting in a movie theater in that respect. I suppose getting a middle seat would be far worse though. ;)

Do people fight over which cup holder is whose, too? Hehehe

There's no cup holder on a plane. Just the tray on the seat in front of you. I'm flying ina few weeks, and when I bought my tickets, I got to choose where I sat. When you can, unless you have a major problem with it, pick the emergency exit rows. They tend to have MUCH more leg room (I'm hoping this is true for my flights as that is what I did). Flying really isn't all that bad. Most people just keep to themselves. Curled up with a book, or magazine, or listening to either their cd's (or tapes), or the radio channels on the plane (bring your own headphones if you don't like sharing things like that with other people...most planes have a headphone jack where you can listen to various lousy radio stations, or listen in to the radio that the captain is listening to with air traffic control and such)

Feel free to ask me any specific questions about the plane trip. :) Flying isn't really that bad.

Get there early... put everything you normally keep in your pockets into your jacket or carry-on (backpack). That goes through the scanner so that you're free to not set off the metal detector. But if you do set it off just shrug while they hand scan you. I almost always set it off... combination of hearing aids and glasses and hiking boots I think. But once it was the spare key in my walet so now I put that through the scanner instead of keeping it in my pocket.

Pack light... that's my motto. Going out, you want to keep essentials in your carry-on... so that if your luggage gets lost you won't be without underwear and toothbrush or whatever. Keep your camera in your carry-on, you'll want it to take pictures. On the way hope I usually check all my bags if I can... don't care if stuff gets lost then... but I also had a jacket with pockets for loose items.. and if it's summer I'd keep my carry-on with me.

Hmm... go to the bathroom before you get on the plane. You'll probably have to transfer to get out there... if you do, know how much time you're supposed to have as a layover, and go to the bathroom again during that. :) You won't have to go through security for the 2nd flight generally... so you should have enough time.

Most flights serve a snack and a drink. Peanuts are popular. If it says they serve a meal or even a snack, then you will probably get more than peanuts. I've only been on one flight where they served nothing.

Try to get a window seat... usually you can choose your seats online by accessing your flight info through their site. And try to sit near the front of the plane... easier to get out.

When they load the plane they usually load you by seat, but I can never hear which ones they are calling so I generally end up getting onto the plane before they called me, but they don't care. This is nice bceause you can get settled and not have to climb over a bunch of people... I don't know why more people don't do that. :) But then I guess it wouldn't be as good.

They will need to see your ID and your boarding pass before you get on the plane. They were doing random searches too before boarding... but usually only one person per flight.

Don't get too nervous about it. People fly all the time... people who have never flown before fly all the time.

OK, time to get dressed before my guests come. My mom is having a party for me. :)

Thanks for the detailed info. :)

And congratulations!

Your mom reads your LJ? Hi Dan's mom! You have a really nice son- nice job!

Anyhoo, don't be nervous about flying- although I've had some rough trips, the experience is pretty cool. After a few flights it's like "same old same old". Be sure to get a "SkyMall" catalog on board- they're normally in the seat pocket in front of your seat. They have the neatest stuff you never knew you needed!

You won't do anything embarassing- You sit down, put your belt on, they read the emergency instructions. (You stow your carry on bag in the overhead compartment or under your seat). You get comfy, they take off, you get bored. You get your book or laptop out, entertain yourself for a while, they come around with snacks and drinks. You say "I'd like a Coke, please" and they give it to you- get the cup with ice because the soda is warm. You enjoy your refreshing snack, read more, and wait. Eventually, they land and you get off. Easy as pie!

In all seriousness, if you're a new flyer, don't be afraid to tell that to the gate people- they're so helpful and will answer any questions.

Thanks Zette. :) I'm not worried about being bored. I can occupy myself endlessly just staring out the window. That works fine for me on coach bus rides when all there is to look at is woods and fields on the side of the road. Replace that with clouds and aerial views and I'd be in heaven. :) And even if I don't tell anyone I'm a first-time flyer, they'll probably figure it out from how many pictures I take out the window and immediately review with my digital camera. hehehe

I just realized that another source of anxiety comes from Weird Al's song "Albuquerque". hehehe...

. . . . . You know, I've never been on a real airplane before, and I've gotta tell you, it was really great. Except that I had to sit between two large Albanian women with excruciatingly severe body odor. And the little kid in back of me kept throwing up the whole time. And the flight attendant ran out of Dr Pepper and salted peanuts. And the in-flight movie was Bio-Dome with Pauly Shore. And oh yeah, three of the airplane engines burned out and we went into a tailspin and crashed into a hillside and the plane exploded in a giant fireball and everybody DIED! Except for me. You know why?

'cause I had my tray table up
and my seat back in the full up-right position

had my tray table up
and my seat back in the full up-right position

had my tray table up
and my seat back in the full up-right position

Ah ha-ha-ha! Ah-ha-ha! Ahhh.... Well I crawled from the twisten burning wreckage. I crawled on my hands and knees for three full days, dragging along my big leather suitcase and my garment bag and my tenor saxophone and my twelve-pound bowling ball and my lucky lucky autographed glow-in-the-dark snorkel. But finally I arrived at the world-famous Albuquerque Holiday Inn . . . . .

What a great song. :) And yes, for anyone wondering, I just wrote all that from memory. The lyrics to that song aren't written in the CD insert in full anyway.

You animal- before you even SAID it, I knew you had written that from memory. There ought to be a prize or something for that accomplishment. I LOVE that song.

And I also am a digital photo out the window taker. I've also been able to catch some bizzaro pics of people in the airport and on the plane, but I don't know if I would do that now.

A couple things come to mind. First of all, you probably won't be able to fly directly to Boise (took me 3 planes from Rochester) so you'll get to spend some quality time in at least one of the bigger airports as a nice layover. Most of them have malls and stuff built in now, and if you go through Minneapolis (which is a distinct possibility), you're in luck. That airport is seriously the coolest one I've been to.

As far as being on the plane, once you find your seat, you're pretty much good to go...the flight crew (you're not allowed to call them stewardesses anymore) has a bizarre little skit they go through on every single flight telling you when and how to put your seatbelt on, and what to do if the plane crashes and you're sitting in an exit row. Some larger planes (Airbus 319's, 320's, DC-10's) may have little video screens that pop down and play the cheesiest video on airplane safety you may ever see...it's quite amusing.

Airplane food sucks. Some airlines just give you the tiny bags of awful pretzels, but United actually has some pretty decent cheese-flavoured mixed stuff in an equally tiny bag.

For seats, I don't really care. Aisle seats are nice because I'm quite tall, so I can stretch my legs into the aisle (watch out for the food cart if you do this), but the view isn't as good...unless of course you have a really cute stewardess....err...flight crew member. (incidentally, flying across the country as many times as I have, I've only had one such crew member...terrible shame, really.) My problem with window seats is again that I'm too tall (airplanes are made for people about 6" shorter than me, so you may be in luck, Thwack :) ) so I end up with a sore neck from having to bend it over to look outside. The view gets a little boring after a while, though....until you get to the mountains.

Sitting next to babies isn't much of a problem...they'll wail when the plane is going up and coming down (the whole ear pressure thing) but while you're cruising, they'll just sleep. The problem are toddlers who have learned to walk and have learned that they want to. They want to get up and run around the plane, kicking your seat and plowing into you if you're in the aisle seat. Their parents yell at them to get them to sit down, and they won't...they'll start crying and screaming...and the more the parents tell them to sit, the more they don't want to sit and the louder they scream and then the parents start to yell and it never stops. I had a flight where the 2-year old in the seat in front of me did not shut up for more than 10 seconds the entire time. If the bawling ever stopped, it was just to reload and squeeze off another round. Oh yeah...and if there are any children around you still in diapers, God help you. There was another flight (a very short one, mercifully) where two 13-ish girls were sitting in front of me rehearsing their "talent" show act the entire time. 45 straight minutes of Ace of Base's "Sign." Over and over and over and over with the "I saw the sign...open up my eyes I saw the sign." Mind you, they did no other part of the song...just that refrain. Incessantly...repeatedly...ad infinitum, ad nauseum...lots and lots of nauseum. By the time I got to Philly, I was so anxious to get off that plane that I forgot to tell the throwers not to lose my luggage...so when I got back to Rochester, it was gone. They eventually found it and delivered it to my apartment a couple days later.

Don't worry about finding the baggage claim or anything once you get to the airports...they're quite well labeled, and the whole flow of the crowd is going that way anyway.

And occasionally, you'll get a smart-ass pilot who likes to tell cute jokes while he's explaining the "Fasten Seatbelt Sign" to you...as if it wasn't self-explainitory. One that I had said, "I'll be turning off the seatbelt sign now, so feel free to get up and mve about the cabin, but we do ask that you stay inside." I think I was one of 3 people on the plane that got that.

That should give you a nice leg up on flying...if you have any other questions, feel free to ask. :)


"Please return the stewardess to her original upright position." -George Carlin

Thanks, J! :) With all the stories and tips my friends are giving me here, and maybe a little luck, I might look like a regular. lol

I heard that we can't use any electrical devices, including digital cameras, during take-off and landing. How true is that? Actually Sara might better be able to tell me... I know she has taken digital photos out the window. Maybe I could get away with it if I turn off the display and use the viewfinder like a normal camera. hehehe... But when it comes down to it, I'll probably be too excited during the first take-off to worry about my camera. Maybe on the trip home.

You're right about the electrical devices. They'll tell you all that before takeoff, so if you pay attention, you won't have to get yelled at by the stewardess. Once you're up a little ways, they'll let you know when you can turn on your toys. Supposedly, they interfere with the navigational system...but I really wonder how true that is.

Well I could understand the precaution of prohibiting use of anything that transmits signals of any kind, which would include cell phones, and anything that can communicate using IR or RF such as laptops, PDAs, games that link with each other, etc. But digital cameras make no such transmissions. *shrug*

You should try flying overseas. Window seat or aisle, it's still VERY boring. You can stare out your window all you want, but all you'll see is water, IF you're lucky. Try staring at a vast spanse of ocean for 7 hours, or until it gets dark. Just pray there's a good movie! LOL I had enough time to watch 2 movies and then some episodes of "Everybody loevs Raymond" and "Spin City" when I flew to Ireland.

And talk about airports? Try London Heathrow Airport. It is absolutely the BIGGEST airport I have EVER seen.

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