tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

3Oct/150

Falling Out of Love With Travel and Patton Oswalt

Today was a bit of a tough travel day. Normally I love travel and airports. Any excuse to visit them, to see people arriving from various places in the world, families reuniting, etc. It warms my heart. Today was tough though. 

I was up late packing (entirely my own fault) and we had an early flight, which means our alarm was set for 4:45. I managed to misset it, but I woke up anyway, because nerves. Made it to the airport in good time, but feeling terrible. Something about waking up early always messes with my body, not just from a fatigue but from a stomach sort of thing. I spent most of the walk through security and customs just hating myself. You actually clear US customs in Toronto, as they have a post there. It’s weird. 

My body ached, I was lugging luggage (ha) and a little warm because I decided to dress to impress rather than dress for comfort. I love the idea of being the guy traveling in a blazer with a pocket square but to be honest I kinda wished I’d worn sweats by the time we got through security.

Everything took much longer than I expected, which meant I barely had time to scarf down a terrible breakfast (seriously, YYZ, be better) before we had to board for our flight like half an hour early (cause apparently no one else can follow Porter’s example and board like 10 minutes before).

BUT I did see Patton Oswalt there, famous comedian and actor. Saw him in security and later he was eating breakfast at the same shitty place we did. I didn’t say anything or really acknowledge him other than to quietly nudge Klutzy and then explain who he was and why it was a big deal. 

I do wonder if I’m falling out of love with travel a bit. I used to love airplanes and flying for the novelty, but I worry a bit that eventually I’m going to admit it’s unpleasant and uncomfortable.

But, then I look out my window to the right and see a brand new city, state and time zone I’ve never been in, and think okay, it’s still pretty fucking cool.

Plus I mean I saw Patton Oswalt.

Now I have to stop writing because we’re in the emergency exit row and my tray table doesn’t really come all the way over and I’m leaning slightly forward to type this and ow.

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5Aug/131

The Joys of Noise Cancelling Headphones

I've spent most of this slightly eventful flight trying to tune out two people behind me.

As people were getting settled a guy asked if he could switch with another man behind me to sit next to his coworker. The gentleman readily agreed, and since then the two have been talking all. Flight. Long.

Of course they're entitled to, but I found myself wishing for quiet. I didn't bring a physical book today so during take off and landing (and a flight from Toronto to Chicago spends a decent chunk of time doing those things) I don't really have anything to do. My urge is to try and slip into a meditative state. Let my mind quiet and enjoy the background roar of the airplane.

This is hard to do with two folks talking behind you, mind you.

But it made me think about not really solving my own problems. I could've dug out my noise cancelling headphones and slipped them on. Even without something playing they would help. But I worry. I worry about someone saying once how you're not allowed to have headphones on? Or something? I worry about being told no, you're wrong, that you are BAD. 

YOU'RE DISOBEYING THE RULES TOM!

Increasingly in life, however, I'm learning it's okay to disobey the rules every now and then. To do something the way you want until someone tells you no. See, I like to be considerate. To watch for others trying to get by me. To make room for people. To pause in a parking lot and let someone in. This is how I was raised.

But every now and then, I think it's good to do what you want until someone tells you not to.

Also, can I say how futuristic this feels? I'm writing on my gorgeous laptop screen. I have lovely music playing through my headphones (Boyce Avenue - Shadow of the Day, if you must know; oh, wait, now I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons) and outside my window I can see the skyline of…somewhere in the States, over the Lake.

Devices off. Will send this later, folks.

(Later is now.)

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7Jun/131

Notes from an Airport

Since BiSC I find myself suddenly having a great deal of travel plans. I'll be either on a plane or entertaining a visitor roughly every two weeks for most of the summer. I'll be seeing airports a lot.

Today was one of the first times I went to an airport and found myself not too happy. Most of this is my own fault. I brought a carry-on I have to actually carry as opposed to one with wheels (correcting that for next time). I got here insanely early, which in ways I'm glad for, but it also means I've had more than a few hours to kill. I'm nervous, too. Excited in that wonderful way that almost crosses the emotional border into scared. 

But I find myself kind of hating this airport. As much as I'm excited, I'm excited for the end of this journey, to be in Chicago, for Klutzy.

I'm trying to quietly recapture the wonder and excitement I felt the last time I was in an airport. The feeling of hope, of newness. Of possibility. Because really that's what an airport is about. In an airport you're often going on an adventure, or coming home from one. Both events are a little sad, and a lot happy. 

A lot of things have gone wrong today. Things are insanely busy and stressful at work. 

But there is no place I'd rather be right now. Yes, if I could leave straight for Chicago from my house, that would be lovely, but being here means I get to go to Chicago. I get to see Klutzy. And that will make everything okay, for a little while.

At the end of this, in far too short a time, I'll be in this airport again. And in two weeks it'll be a different one, and I'll see more people I love.

In the next few months I'll spend more time in airports than I have in my 28 years previous combined. And I know that I must, must maintain my love of them. I must see the benefits, the unique experience, the potential of them. Yes, there will be stomach aches, things to carry, little things going wrong, and rushing, rushing, rushing. 

But at the end there will be Klutzy. There will be other friends. There will be adventures to have, new experiences, new wonders to share. My credit card hates me right now, but I'll recover. And there is not a doubt in my mind that this is worth it. 

I am so fucking excited for my life right now. As crazy as it may be, for the first time in my life, I'm comfortable being uncomfortable. And that'd be worth it at 10x the price.

Plus, you know, Klutzy.

25Oct/121

Wine and Love: 13

5641043482 6f577b210d mTwo weeks in a row! Blogging win! Today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week! It's hard to keep track, I know, but do try to keep up!

Wine

  • I left my iPad on the train sometime on Monday. I've been worried sick about someone getting into my data, harassing friends or doing God knows what with it. So far I believe we're safe; it looks like whoever got it either turned it into the lost and found or has wiped it. Using the iCloud stuff I can tell it hasn't been online (at least without being wiped) at least since Monday night, which means either it's been turned off since then (which is the lost and found's standard procedure) or wiped. I've set it to wipe the next time it comes online for data integrity. All signs seem to be pointing to it being in the lost and found, but since all that stuff has to be processed I won't know for a few days.
  • Honestly that's been the big one, and some of the fallout and worries from that. Besides that, work's been busy, but I could practically leave that on here permanently!
  • I haven't been sleeping well lately. Part of it is just bad habits, part of it is the myriad things I'd rather be doing than sleeping, part of it is iPad and work things on my mind a lot. I've been trying to get to bed earlier, but it's not easy when there's so much I want to do.

Love

  • Mists of Pandaria continues to delight and entertain, which is great. I said this last week, but I cannot overemphasize how glad I am to have this awesome outlet and the wonderful people that come along with it. We ran dungeons last night and, even though they didn't go super well, I had a blast. If you've ever thought you might enjoy WoW, do give it a try, and let me know so I can bring you into my awesome group of people there.
  • My friends have been amazing. GFM especially has been a big help and is great at keeping me grounded and keeping things in perspective. Thanks, GFM.
  • I bought a ticket to VidCon! Still figuring out the flight and everything, but it'll be awesome to meet and hang out with people I've blogged around with and whatnot for so long.
  • I'm generally eating healthier and feeling better these days. I've had one person ask if I lost weight; I haven't checked in a while, so I'm not sure, but that was nice. I feel like I see a little bit in my face, but that could be imagination.
  • Therapy has been going well. I feel like I'm making real progress, which largely means breaking down a lot of the things I had thought I knew about myself. It's fascinating, and a tad bit scary, but good.
  • I've moved some money around and cleared up some financial stuff, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm getting close to being ready to tackle the move. Not quite there, but close.

What are you loving this week? And what's making you whine?

12Jun/120

BEDJ Day 11: Canada

K, so I've missed a few days. Sorry, BEDJ! Life got busy!

Today we're talking about travel again, and I thought I'd talk about some of the places I want to visit in my own country, Canada. If you never have, go look at some of the Canadian Tourism sites. We have a beautiful, varied country, and I want to see it all!

I've lately had a bit of a love affair with our east coast, in particular Newfoundland. The TV show Republic of Doyle is filmed and set there, and it shows a slightly harsh, but beautiful landscape, with a unique culture. Some of our best musicians (in my opinion) come from out there, and the music has a Celtic and generally upbeat feel. The land even has its own dialect of English. Seriously, you can buy a Newfoundland-Canadian English dictionary. I checked. I also have some distant family there, and am 1/4 Newfie myself, so I'd love to visit sometime.

The North is another spot I'd love to visit. Much like Iceland, this is an area of stark and somewhat harsh beauty, though with more trees. Part of this is how cut off a lot of this area is from the rest of Canada. While there are certainly flights, the capitals of the various territories that make up the North look more like small towns, with many things being more expensive, since almost everything must be flown in, as there are few (perhaps no?) roads leading up there from the rest of Canada. Probably would be best to go there in the summer, but it's the kind of place I'd like to go just to say I'd been, in ways.

There are many, many spots in Canada I'd love to go. I'd love to spend more time up Muskoka way in cottage country, head out West to Vancouver, and everything in between. If you'd like a taste of the kind of thing I'd love to do, check out the movie One Week. Fans of Joshua Jackson will enjoy it, as he stars.

Check out One Week anyway, it's a good movie.

 

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5Jun/120

BEDJ Day 4: Icelandic Travel

So today's topic for BEDJ is travel. For this, I thought I'd talk briefly about my favourite destination, Iceland.

That's right. It's not particularly warm or sunny, but it is wonderful.

I spent a week there a few years ago, traveling with a group of friends. We spent a few days in the largest city, Reykjavik, before renting a car and driving a bit along the southern coast, before heading back to Reyk and back towards home. Since I'm tired, and since I can go on about Iceland for pages and pages, I'll stick to a few quick facts.

  • Iceland, despite the name, is actually relatively temperate. Temperatures tend to range between 0 and 15 Celsius (that's 14 and 55F, for you crazy Yanks).
  • During the summer the sun is out more and more, eventually resulting in a full day of sunshine. The winter has the opposite effect, of course.
  • Tired of old politicians, Reykjavik elected their equivalent of Jon Stewart as Mayor (I think; it's a little tough to read it all in translation, but a comedian running on a joke platform got elected and has so far done a decent job, from what I've read).
  • The first lesbian elected to be the head of a government was Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, elected in 2009 as Prime Minister of Iceland.
  • Icelandic names tend to follow a patronymic naming style, whereby the child takes the first name of the father as a last name, with the suffix sson or dottir. This leads to a family of four having, potentially, four different surnames. So if Magnus Thorsson marries Ingrid Bjorndottir, their children would be Gabriel Magnusson and Johanna Magnusdottir. Something along those lines, anyway. Because of this, and last names not meaning much, the phone book lists occupations as well, to help identify people.
  • The country has a population of around 315 000, with around 230 000 in the Greater Reykjavik Area. Take a moment and think of how truly small that is.
  • Iceland tends to use clean, geothermal energy, yet has one of the highest rates of cars per capita. It was explained by a tour guide that Icelanders don't use geothermal power cause it's environmentally friendly; they do this cause it's easier than any other form, for them.

I can't say exactly what it is, but this kind of barren, kind of crazy country captivated me. I could have spent years there, and even now I still debate running off to there and trying to make my way. I'll definitely need to go back at some point, but for now I've been saving my money. But every now and then I still read the Iceland Review, or the Reykjavik Grapevine, just to get a sense of what's going on there. Maybe I lived there in a past life or something, couldn't say for sure.

Either way, if I've piqued your interest, I'd suggest checking out a couple fun sites; Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend and Inspired by Iceland. The latter is one of the most beautiful and inspiring tourist campaigns I've ever seen, while the former is creative and kind of adorable.

Better yet, check out flights. They're probably cheaper than you think.