Falling Backwards

I have very few followers on Twitter and Instagram so this didn’t get the attention that it deserves.

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This is a photo of the wallpaper in a pizza parlor in downtown Denver. From a distance I could make out knives and scissors but getting close to it revealed that there was a lot more to it.

Mercifully, this was only on the half-wall in front of the counter where they put the pizzas together , not all over. I chatted a bit with the pizza guy and he said that yes it is wallpaper and yes the pattern does have a name. “It’s called Falling Backwards“, he said. “Look at it for a while. It’s very dark.”

[After making this post, I had to stare at some Lily Pulitzer cosmetic cases to break the spell.]


The Modern Traveler

subtitle: I Just Flew In From Denver And Boy Is My Ass Tired

It’s been a little while since I traveled by air on a business trip and I noticed some significant changes:

TSA Pre√ -“TSA Pre✓™ allows low-risk travelers to experience faster, more efficient screening at participating U.S. airport checkpoints for domestic and international travel.”

TSA Pre✓™ Experience:

  • Quicker transit through airport lanes
  • Shorter lines
  • Shorter wait times
  • Improved customer experience
No Removal of:

  • Belt
  • Shoes
  • Light outerwear/jacket
  • 3-1-1 compliant bag and laptop from carry-on

Plus there are designated lanes! No more getting stuck behind a family traveling with toddlers – meaning seats, strollers, bags, snacks to be rummaged through, little shoes to be removed and put on again and little lost socks. It’s about damn time. While the federal government might consider every traveler an equal security risk, apparently the TSA does not. There’s an application fee and process but this designation was just plopped onto my boarding pass.

I hope this trend continues and that they once again allow full size cans of hairspray in carry-ons.

NOTE: Although this is a generally positive piece about the TSA, I still do not forgive them for stealing my hand-tooled leather cosmetics case. Perhaps I’ve mentioned this before?  I had dinner with a brand new group of people this week and I told them the whole story. I could not get them riled up about it, but I will never forget nor forgive.

New uniforms for United crews  The link has an article that says the fashion world reaction to the new designs are “meh” but I think that’s an understatement.  Here’s a picture but you could just as easily look in the dictionary for the definition of frumpy:

United debuted its new fleet-wide uniforms this week, designed based on employee feedback to be solid work-wear, but they drew poor marks from fashion critics.

United debuted its new fleet-wide uniforms this week, designed based on employee feedback to be solid work-wear, but they drew poor marks from fashion critics.

My flight from Newark to Denver had about 15 United employees on it so I got to observe not just the stews but a good cross section of pilots as well.

  • The counter people are almost invisible in their extreme blahness
  • The in-flight crew dresses are a weird combination of shaped and baggy
  • Male stews are still dressed like pretend pilots
  • Actual pilot’s uniforms have not yet been updated
  • Lady pilots wear man pilot uniforms, although they might be cut differently. Lady pilots over compensate by wearing a lot of jewelry,  unless they all need those multiple rings for their second jobs as  fortune tellers.

Still unaddressed is the serious issue about hairdos. It’s like the ladies go out of their way to look unkempt. If we’re talking about a uniform look, then I think there needs to be some kind of mandate about an approved, uniform hairstyle. Something like the Rockettes or the women in the Robert Palmer Addicted To Love video.

Here’s a United  fashion show displaying all variations of the new uniforms:

Is anyone else reminded of the video below?

Luxury Taxi Service in Denver  The ground transportation business in Denver is highly competitive and you can have an unmarked town car, limo or luxury vehicle for the same cost or less as a conventional yellow cab. And you get the royal treatment by the drivers, too. Going into Lodo, I rode in a Cadillac Escalade and going out I had a Jaguar.

At the end of each trip, the driver hands you a business card and says they would like to serve you again and please call them the next time you come back to Denver. In both of my rides mentioned above, the cards revealed that the owners of the business were the drivers operating the vehicles and interacting with the customers.  That is entrepreneurism in its purest form. America!

Of course, it is still Denver where an enormous bicycle culture thrives and so there are a large number of human-powered pedicabs. The humans in this case are either underemployed hipsters or of the tattooed, nose ringed, white-people-with-dreadlocks variety and it is unclear to me if they can take you anywhere except a marijuana store or a brand new building designed to look like a repurposed factory.

Luggage The more you travel, the lighter you pack. I managed to do a 4-day trip with only a rolling business bag and a moderately large Urban Expressions handbag. Packing is one of my talents.

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I took a cream-colored handbag because I packed at the last minute and couldn’t find my large black Ameribag.

This computer bag  was a Christmas present from Sami and matches 2 suitcases he had given me for a previous occasion and it cost no small amount of money. Even though it has a 4 1/2 star rating on Amazon, it is quite crappy and I’m going to return it.

It did get me there and back without incident but I was not at all sure that would be the outcome. The fabric is puckered, the zippers looked like they were not going to be able to survive my packing challenge and the handle was a nightmare. When extended, it had a high degree of wobbliness. I dare it it should be described as “twisting” and collapsing it was difficult at best. In fact, when I got home, the handle would not collapse at all and Sami had to insert something to release the pins on each segment by poking them with the tapered end of a chopstick.

Here’s one for sale on eBay. I know exactly how this happened.

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So now I’m back in the market for another rolling case and I’m considering a Baggallini. Any Baggallini product I have still looks like the day I bought it and I’ve never had any quality issues with them. Does anyone have any experience with these rolling cases – either the original or the newer design? If yes, I would appreciate hearing from you about it.

Road Trip

Big business sent me to Baltimore at the end of last week. Everything was going along so well, highway-wise, until the dashboard gas tank signal lit up and I had to get off as soon as I hit Maryland to look for gas. The local Hertz does this to me every time and yet, I’m never prepared for it. They send their cars out with only a half tank and by the time I realize it, I’m out of New Jersey and  in some God-forsaken wasteland where you have to pump your own gas. This time, I made it as far as Maryland.

Anyway, one thing led to another and there was a Chick-Fil-A and before I knew it, I was 45 minutes behind schedule and I couldn’t get the navigation device to resume my route so I plugged the destination in again and spend the rest of the trip on secondary highways and neighborhood streets. streets. This really slowed me down but what a great silver lining there was here:

A local rock station did a live broadcast of Elton John performing at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. Sir Elton! I love calling out knighted rock stars – Sir Paul! Sir Mick! The world has come along way away from Sir Galahad and sir Walter Raleigh. Anyway, the concert started and there he was banging  out the oldies in a theatrically deep voice. I got all misty eyed when Burn Down The Mission started up. It was almost like listening to the live broadcast that became the 11-17-70 album, except now Sir Elton sounds like Michigan J. Frog.

Michigan_J_FrogSomebody YouTubed some of that performance. The images in the video aren’t great so you might as well look at the frog while you listen.


Here’s 3 weird things, or 2 weird things if you bundle like events together:

Weird Thing 1. In downtown Denver, there are free shuttle buses that runs every two minutes the full length of 16th street and stops briefly at every corner.  The drivers watch in the mirror to see if people are still stepping off before they shut the doors and continue on. So one assumes they see a lot of feet during the course of the day. I was getting off the shuttle at the end of the line and as I walked past the front of the bus, the driver stuck her head out of the window and complimented my shoes and asked me where I got them. That never happened to me before.

Weird Thing 2. Or possibly Weird Thing 1a. In Denver airport, as I was working my way through the security check  (pat down. ugh. it’s a free show. everyone watches.) a middle-aged, middle-of-the-road kind of male TSA agent picked up my shoes from the bin and said “Nice shoes!” One assumes they see a lot of shoes during the course of the day.

Would you like to see these remarkable shoes? Here they are:

Ryka Leather and Mesh Slip-on Skimmers from QVC now on clearance for $23.50

 Big deal, right? I bought three pair. I was wearing the black ones on the shuttle and the blue ones in the airport. I can’t wait to see what happens when I wear the beige ones.

Weird Thing 3. I had a window seat on the plane for the trip home. About an hour out from landing, I noticed a collection of water droplets streaking across the outside of my window. I was trying to assess what the chance of me being sucked out through the little porthole if the window fell out when I drifted off to sleep for a few minutes. When I opened my eyes, the clouds all around were pink. I thought maybe I was already on the other side of the porthole and was pleased to discover that my death was painless. The pink only lasted a few minutes then it was back to regular earthly-type clouds …

BUT! …

I suddenly had the answer to a work problem that I had been struggling with for a few days. So who’s to say? Maybe I was dead and the angles told me which cohorts were missing from my census base. And then they returned me to United Flight 229. And gave me a nosebleed.

This was a weird trip.