Ardent readers of this blog may have noticed that content has been somewhat lacking over the past few days. That’s because I’ve been touring the Pacific Northwest, enjoying the sights and sounds (and various libations) of Portland and Seattle. Well, now I’m back, but of course I couldn’t just FLY somewhere without sharing the experience â€”Â especially since I managed to score a swanky first class ticket back to Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines. So yes, here I am with another FLOG, ready to share all from my two hour jaunt in the sky.
The full experience, including a MOST dissatisfying crudite incident, after the jump…
I’m in the air flying first class and silently having what can be only called a mountaingasm. Well, it’s sort of a sunset mountaingasm. You see, it’s sunset in Oregon, and out my window I can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and now Mt. Hood â€”Â all bathed in the light of dusk. Forgive me for sounding slightly poetic, but the majesty of nature has truly taken hold of my soul and filled it with resplendent thoughts. Also, the imminent free booze has me giddy.
So far, everything on this flight has been lovely. Because of reasons far too complicated to explain, I managed to finagle myself a first class ticket back to Los Angeles, and as such, I was able to go from security line to airline boarding without even waiting one second. Much props go to the PDX travelers who were by and large fairly adept at security. Of course, not everyone was particularly efficient. A rather dense girl in front of me made the boneheaded move of leaving her laptop in her bag, despite many warnings to the contrary. Full disclosure â€”Â I’ve committed such crimes. However, unlike me, this girl then yelled over to her boyfriend, who had passed through security successfully, and told him to hand the laptop back through the metal detector. This, of course, was idiotic because clearly the boyfriend had no access to the laptop, and even if he had, security would not let him pass it back to his potential co-terrorist girlfriend. Nevertheless, a TSA worker brought the laptop back to the girl and held it out for her, but given that she seemed about as sharp as a monkfish, she continued to squawk out to her man, insisting that he hand the laptop to her. I just wanted to shout at her “IT’S RIGHT THERE!” but that would have been rude. And of course, given that this was Portland, not PDX, the TSA worker just stood there quietly and politely until this girl swiveled her head the necessary five degrees to see that her laptop was in fact in reaching distance of her occasionally flapping arms. Thankfully, this minor circus only delayed me about a minute, but it surely sullied my First Class Priority Security Line experience.
Complimentary Athena brand water has arrived. I don’t know the name of the flight attendant who delivered it to me, but I can assure you that she’s nothing compared to Susie, a fiftysomething blonde whippersnapper with a Kate Gosselin haircut.
Hot damn! I just looked out my window, and we’re DIRECTLY above Mt. Jefferson. The sunset is reflecting off the snow-capped peaks. It’s quite impressive. Really puts the Hollywood Hills to shame. Ooooh, Holly is here to take my order. My options: well, there’s only one. A snack. Crudites with a spinach and artichoke dip. And yes, this is First Class. I blame Sarah Palin. Anyway, I just placed my request: a snack and champagne. Holly asked if I wanted it straight up or mimosa style (or as I like to call it, a mimosa). Apparently it’s brunch time. Oh, but Holls is a sweetheart. I told her I wanted my champagne straight-up. Now the intrigue will build for this snack. We’ve been told that it’s a brand new offering. Not even Holly has tried it yet. This makes me feel slightly ill at ease.
You know, on my flight up to Portland, I sat bulkhead (next to two AWFUL children, I might add. I tried to tune them out by burrowing my head in a book about the plight of two Russians scavenging for food in World War II. It was a failed effort). Anyway, as I was at the front of economy, I was able to see that the First Classers got a lovely chicken souvlaki salad. And what am I getting? Carrots and celery? Is this BUNNY AIRLINES? Oh well. I suppose I shouldn’t complain. It’s better than nothing. And maybe it will be delightful.
I feel gassy. It’s not conducive to an elite flying experience.
There are no celebrities on this flight. I suppose that’s a tall order on a PDX to LAX flight. I did, however, stumble into the Chelsea Football team in Seattle. They were apparently in town to play the local soccer team. My friend Meeschie and I literally turned a corner, and there they were, directly in front of us. We were amused, especially since had we been in Europe, we probably would have been crushed under a mob of hooligans and fanatics. Incidentally, about ten minutes later, we encountered a fan in a Mexican wrestling mask and a soccer jersey. He was walking down the street and looking off to the side, and as a result, he nearly plowed right into Meeschie, who warned him sweetly, “Watch where you’re going!” He then passed by her and yelled “WHO WEARS ALL BLACK??!??!” It seemed like an odd comment coming from a man in a Mexican wrestling mask, but I chalked it up to that certain Pacific Northwest je ne sais quoi. Hmmm… that was a rambling story. Thankfully champagne has arrived.
The champagne is quite nice. I plan to have many.
In mundane news, I forgot to bring my camera cable with me, which means that I haven’t been able to upload any photos to my laptop. It also means that my memory stick filled up this afternoon. Luckily, I got all the photos I would have needed. There’s a particularly enjoyable one of a seagull staring right into my lens. Maritime charm abounds.
The steak I had for dinner last night was delicious, but I feared slightly undercooked. Now my suspicions have been confirmed, if you know what I’m saying. (if this were twitter, I’d write #poopytime)
The snack has arrived!!!!
UGH. That was terrible. I mean, I know I’m not on American Airlines, and I know I’m not flying transcontinental, but seriously, I’m still First DAMN Class! I’ll explain. The “snack” arrived, and as promised, it was some sort of crudite plate. Emphasis on CRUDE. It was basically a plate of lettuce and shredded carrots topped with two cherry tomatoes, four celery sticks, and four carrot sticks. On the side was a ramekin of spinach and artichoke dip and a little prepackaged container of peppercorn cream dressing. So really, what we had was a salad topped with crudites. I mean, it’s like ordering a sirloin with a side of tri-tip. Redundancy be damned, I totally accept that both veggies AND spinach/artichoke dip can be delicious. This was not. The dip, which is normally served bubbling and hot, was ice cold, and as such, it was essentially flavorless. I chomped my way through my carrot sticks and then halfway through the celery when I realized all I was doing was using them to deliver calorie-laden, taste-devoid gunk into my digestive system (which, as I have mentioned, is already overtaxed). Now I’m not a major calorie counter, but after having slurped down a cup of chowdah at Ivar’s in Seattle, I’m feeling like maybe I should keep the cholesterol to more manageable amounts. As such, I halted my snack consumption, not even bothering to commence the salad portion of my veggie-on-veggie plate. That’s right. I turned down free food.
Just to be clear, when I fly First Class, it’s not that I need duck confit (although, that would be welcomed), but at least give me something halfway decent. A pack of crackers with some cheeses would have been positively wonderful. This, unfortunately, was not. And given the extra dough that most people shell out for these seats, I’d say it’s borderline offensive. There still is room for redemption, however, if fresh baked cookies are on the horizon. In the meantime, champagne.
I’m also suffering from a canker sore in the depths of my mouth. So there’s that.
OÃ¹ est le champagne??? (That’s French)
Donde esta los champagÃ±os? (That’s Spanish/jibberish)
Eich been ein champagne? (That’s vaguely German. Street slang perhaps. Or rather, straÃŸ slang)
Just gave Holly my glass. She gave me a knowing look as if to say “You’re totally gonna get drunk, aren’t you?” She’s A-OK. Ooh, refill is here. I like how she calls me Ben. Although, it should be Mr. Mandelker. Hey, if you’re gonna fetch me free drinks, you can call me Vanna White for all I care (but please don’t).
Really, I just want to fart. TMI?
Speaking of beverages, Knob Creek is purportedly sending me some free bourbon for me to write about on the blog. That will be fun (AND most certainly liveblogged). Corporations, feel free to follow suit. Drinky drinky!
I just noticed an urban area outside my area. Conveniently, the pilot then informed us that it is in fact glorious Reno. The Biggest Little city. Ironically, I think Portland might be the Littlest Big City. Meanwhile the people on the right side of the plane get to see Sacramendi, er, Sacramento. They also get to see the lights of the Bay Area in the distance. Whatevs. I got the five mountains at sunset, which, last time I checked, was a far more poetic and transcendent experience than just some anonymous lights in the dark. Reno, it should be noted, is rather unspectacular from the air.
Since you asked, here’s my Reno story. It was the first place I ever went into a casino. I walked in with my brother, and since I had a quarter in my pocket, I put it in a slot machine. I won four more quarters. I then took one of them, put it in the machine, and BAM. I hit the highest jackpot. The quarters kept coming and coming. There were so many that my hand turned black as I shoveled them into a bucket. Some dude came by and then invited me into a high roller raffle for a car. I declined. Ultimately, my winnings were only $125 total, but I’d say that’s a great way to start what would later be a rather unspectacular gambling career. Amusingly, the first time I was in Vegas, I played the slots at the airport (I was on a layover). After spending about seventy-five cents, the machine lit up, and hallelujah, I hit the highest jackpot AGAIN! This time, the pay out was a heftier $400. It was slightly awkward collecting all that money while the people at my gate quietly gazed on jealously nearby, but hey, it was most certainly worth it. I have yet to earn more than twenty quarters since then.
This champagne is making me drowsy. I refuse to surrender to it. Holly will certainly think I’m an alcoholic by the time this flight is done. I just want to get my money’s worth. Ultimately, my desire for a good value trumps any concerns I have about self-image.
Holly’s working the room. She’s swell.
Whatever happened to Susie? She had lots of sass potential. I suppose she’s stuck with the hoi polloi in Economy. pssssh.
I’m feeling chatty. This is what happens when I get buzzed. Alas, I have no one to chat with. This is probably a good thing. Where the HELL is Holly? Time for a refill.
Despite purportedly having fifty-six minutes left of battery-power, my laptop has suddenly DIED. Luckily, I have a legal pad on which I can scrawl my observations. In other news, my third champagne has arrived. I’m now doing the only thing I know to do in this situation: get drunk and listen to light music on my iPod. The “cheesy” playlist has been called upon; shuffle activated. First song up: “Rush, Rush” by Paula Abdul. I feel instant tranquility.
Las Vegas is totally outside my window. Heh.
Maybe it’s only Carson City. Whatever it is, it’s not Vegas. I’m highly disappointed.
Saaaailling takes me awaaaay. Resisting the urge to actually sing this out loud. I nevertheless think warmly of my friend Leah3t, with whom I’ve soulfully crooned this legendary Christopher Cross tune many times.
It’s true. The canvas CAN do miracles!
This is oddly amusing to me. The guy next to me has a printed out email. I can’t see (nor do I care about) any of the content, but oddly enough I can glimpse the salutation and valediction. It starts off with “Hi John” and ends signed with “John.” It’s an email from John to John! Am I the only one laughing? hmmm… must be the bubbly.
Oooh. “Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg just came on. This song makes me verklemped. Must skip forward, lest I’m caught by Holly with tears streaming down my face.
“Separate Lives” by Phil Collins. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!
Let the record show that while I may be having intestinal woes, I’m being respectful and not emitting a steady stream of silent but deadly stinkbombs. The same cannot be said of someone in my general vicinity who just unleashed a nasty garlic burp. Unpleasant.
I think we’re starting our descent. Where the eff are our cookies???
Holls is here. She’s chatting with a passenger. She’s lucky I’m in a window seat because I too would be totally chatting her ear off about inane things. You know, on account of the booze. And my personality. As Phil Collins would say, I guess we’ll have to go on living SEPARATE LIVES. That was forced. Sorry.
To paraphrase the current song on my iPod, Holly is like the wind.
Holly is currently leading me through moonlight, only to burn me with the sun. She’s taken my heart, but she doesn’t know what she’s done!
I hope Holls also appreciates the simple joys of getting soused and listening to adult contemporary music.
Oooh. I just let out a cucumber burp. Much better than that other person’s garlic burp.
Holls is silently judging me. I can tell.
Another cucumber burp â€”Â this one infused with delicate champagne notes. It was mildly reminiscent of a Pimms Cup.
I think I have time for one more champagne. Holly would do well to attend to my needs.
UGH. Holly. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
I see tinfoil in the galley! And I smell odors! Cookies? But it smells like pizza. What treats do you have in store for us Holly???
And now “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.” Of course, if I were to adapt it to this flight, I’d have to say “Sometimes CRUDITES Just Ain’t Enough.” Because they aren’t. And you know what isn’t enough? The amount of champagne I’ve consumed. PAGING HOLLY. I’m in need of spirits!
Nooooooooo!!! The galley is locking up. No more refills! Boooo. Meanwhile, the guy next to me totally didn’t drink his wine. Poor form.
Seriously, what’s up with cocktail service just ENDING. It’s called announcing Last Call! And seriously, the crudites were ALL we got? Not even a chocolate morsel? Really? This is certainly not VDTA (very dear to all â€”Â it’s new slang).
Gasp! I just realized something. During all this time, I never reclined my chair! I totally missed out on a key First Class experience. I’m gonna do it quickly right now. Okay. I did it. Not bad. A cookie would have been better. Or a refill.
Thankfully, the “St. Elmo’s Fire Theme” will carry me through this difficult passage.
I miss champagne.
Sigh. I must turn off all my electrical devices (the ones that haven’t DIED prematurely, that is). And right in the middle of the “St. Elmo’s Fire Theme.” Now how will I fantasize about young Mare Winningham?
Yew know wut? Alaska doesn’t owe me a cookie, but they kinda dew!
Now I’m looking at LA from my window. I see Hollywood. I’m very good at identifying places from the air. Oh look, Dodger Stadium, or as I like to call it, Dodge Stades. And there’s LA Live! Downtown! And San Gabes Valls! (pardon my drunken abbreviations)
Dammit. After a spate of overeager gawking, I got nose oil on my window. It’s totally obscuring the view.
Aaaand we’re landing.
And that was it. I’m still somewhat miffed at the crudite situation. I mean really, if you pay good money to fly in a better cabin, you deserve more than one foodstuff, and if you do get one, it better taste damn good or at least have higher aspirations than something you could get at a PTA meeting. AND IT DIDN’T EVEN TASTE GOOD. Shame on you, Alaska. Shame on you. (but the booze was great!)