Thursday, January 28, 2010

New location

This blog has moved to:
http://www.flygracefully.com

Please update your bookmarks

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Podcasts


I'm going to come out and admit I'm a Windows Mobile smart phone user. On my Fuze I have an application called BeyondPod which is an open source RSS feeder. I have a classic iPod I used to use for podcasts, but I didn't sync my iTunes often enough to keep podcasts up to date and when I'm stuck at an airport without free internet I couldn't download new episodes so a smart phone with cellular connection works better. I like podcasts because I'm not much of a reader.

Podcasts, like Blogs, need to be updated frequently or the audience loses interest. On my phone I have a mix of blogs with different update frequencies.

Grammar Grater (RSS and iTunes links on site) is a short podcast (usually no longer than 8 minutes with a couple quick ads) about a grammar topic. Although I write in choppy sentences, can't form paragraphs, and don't know when to hyphenate or not I do at least try to improve my grasp of English grammar. This podcast isn't updated very regularly, often no more than twice a month.

The Crew Lounge (RSS) is a new podcast from the people who give us Upgrd but this time from the perspective of flight crew instead of frequent flyers. There are only 2 episodes so far and they are around 30-40 minutes. they are trying to do a weekly podcast. Since it's new I'll take a wait-and-see approach to that, but good luck to them and welcome to podcasting! If you are like me and RSS your podcasts instead of using iTunes, click on the RSS to get that link. Upgrd is not very forthcoming with RSS feeds and that took some digging.

Free Talk Live (RSS and iTunes on site) is my bread and butter podcast. It is the syndication of a daily radio show so even on the longest flight I usually have enough Free Talk Live to get my through. It is ~2 hours per podcast and there is a new episode Mon-Sat. This podcast has nothing to do with travel, but some of the TSA haters out there do call in periodically.

I just found Travel Commons (RSS and iTunes on site) recently and haven't really checked it out much yet so I can't comment, but the most recent episode is from last year so I'm guessing it isn't updated too often.

And last but not least is Upgrd (RSS). Upgrd is run by several flyertalkers and for any true frequent flyer it is must-listen material. I think it is bi-weekly and episodes try to stay under 40 minutes. This is usually the first podcast I listen to on a trip before using Free Talk Live to fill the rest of the flight time.

Other podcasts I have subscribed to include Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! which is an hour long weekly podcast and is like the Daily Show of NPR. It's a good way to see how well you keep up with current events.

Any other travel or general podcasts anyone out there recommends?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Automatic bathrooms


There seems to be a trend in airport bathrooms and that is to make everything automatic. In ORD one only needs to wave a hand to get a fresh toilet seat cover. Soap, water, and even paper towels all come with just the wave of a hand. The only one that really annoys me is the water because most of them in airports have no temperature control which means the water is slightly colder than I'd usually like. Some hospitals do have temperature controls on automatic sinks, but not always in the public areas.

All this automation is great unless the sensor doesn't work or, as this sign from Cincinnati Northern Kentucky (CVG) indicates, your clothing doesn't register with the sensor. Of course this means you get soap but no water or paper towel. Those are always fun days...

On Flyertalk one of the signs on being a frequent flyer is being home and holding hands under the sink waiting for the water to start.

Now on twitter

I'm now on twitter http://www.twitter.com/FlyGracefully

I was against it because I like to maintain as much privacy as I can. I realized that many people use twitter to find out about news and information very quickly and that appeals to me. It seems like a lot of noise to sift through though. I started following a couple similar things and it seems that they all retweet the same information.

One of the things that intrigued me is the #boarding and then listing the airport you're in. I might try that out, but at the same time like I said I like to stay somewhat private.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend Routine

Most weeks I fly out Monday and return Thursday or Friday night. I try to avoid flying on Sunday unless I really have to since I am not compensated for weekend travel and it just really isn't good for my work/life balance. Earlier on in my career I was too willing to sacrifice work/life balance, but I can't continue to be that way.

When I come home on the weekend there are some key things I need to get done before the next week begins:
  • Do laundry
  • Epliate
  • File my nails
  • Mow the grass
  • Clean the house
As someone who is never in the same place week after week I don't need to have a lot of different clothes so I need to do the laundry every week for the next week and change a couple items. I know other women who color code their weeks so they only have to bring 1 color of shoes. I tried this earlier in my career and probably should return to this routine, but right now I only wear clothes that work with black shoes. A three week cycle...black, brown, and navy works for many.

About a year ago I started epilating. I bought theBraun 5270 Silk-├ępil X'elle after a friend suggested that model and I've been epilating on the weekends ever since. I mainly like it because I used to cut my shins all the time and now I don't have that issue. I use it on my legs, forearms, and arm pits. I will usually need to shave my armpits again during the week, but my legs often stay clear enough until the weekend. This model is a corded model so I just leave it plugged-in at home and epilate while surfing the web. I still carry a razor with me on the road, but if it's too dull and I haven't replaced it yet I don't ask for one of those torture devices they have for free at the front desk or run out to a pharmacy just for a razor. Some hotels do sell nicer razors, but in Canada I paid $14 for a razor at the hotel store and they didn't do room charges so I didn't get extra points on that.

I grew up as a horrible nail biter. For about a year or so when I first started traveling for business I had acrylics, but if I didn't have time to get them filled when I was home I would go to the mall wherever I was and have some random person fill them. I decided to switch back to natural nails and had really weak nails until a friend taught me about Nailtiques polish. I file my nails weekly when I'm home because when my nails get too long they are not comfortable for the way I type. I used Nailtiques daily for a while, now I only put a coat on once a week or so and that keeps my nails strong enough for the most part. If I use it every other day my nails are strong enough to do anything.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Goodbye free airport wifi...oh, wait!

The Google free Wifi promotion is now coming to an end. During the promotion I only passed through 1 airport that was part of the promotion that didn't normally have free wifi...Monterey, CA.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Safety Hazard, Really?

No, despite the title this actually isn't about TSA.

Last night I was on an regional jet with only 1 flight attendant. The flight attendant was not a native English speaker. He pronounced the CH in Charlotte like the CH in chat. Little things like that don't really bother me because I'm sure I mispronounce city names all the time.

We were in the penalty box for 30 minutes for flow control into CLT and some passenger mid plane asked the FA to repeat what the pilot had said (the pilot spoke with typical pilot voice and I understood him fine, but people far from a speaker might not). the FA said there was a delay for flow control in CHarlotte. The passenger (who was very loud) started instructing him that it is pronounced SHarlotte like SHicago. The passenger asked the FA where he was from because "you sound Eastern European but you look Asian."

During deplaning some other passengers were talking about how they would feel very unsafe if we had an accident and that FA had to give instructions. I've been on flights with just 2 flight attendants where 1 was a native English speaker and the other wasn't and the one with the heavy accent spoke the safety demo. I never had a problem with it. I don't like getting sent to overseas call centers who don't properly train phone staff on how to resolve basic issues, but this FA would have gone through the same training as all other FAs for this regional carrier. The track record for pilots on regional carriers has come under fire a lot recently so I just hope the flight attendants are actually getting properly trained for emergencies...especially when they are the only FA on board.

If they let people who don't speak English onto airplanes then I don't see how someone fluent in English (his usage was fine, just his pronounciation of proper nouns was off) but with an accent is a safety hazard.