Friday, September 30, 2005

AAAhhhh children

Honestly, theres no good way to fly with children.

My friend Christine asked in the comments of my last post the best way to fly with children, and since I don' t have her email, I guess I'll just make a post of it. She may have even flown with her baby boy jack already, but oh well. Maybe this will help someone out.

Flying with kids is like playing against Joe Horn...you can't stop him, you can just hope to contain him.

Kids scream. they make messes. they smash they're cookies and grind them into the carpet, they slobber, they mess their diapers and theres no good place to change it, they kick seats and people get mad, and on and on and on. It happens. The best you can hope for is understanding people around you.

But there is some hope.

Their ears are GOING TO POP. Prepare for it. Make sure you have their pacifier to suck on, gum (if they're old enough) to chew on, or let them gnaw on your finger.

Get there early. Preboard. Sit in the front with the rest of the kids. Let the people who want peace and quiet go to the back. Theres nothing worse than screaming kids in the front and the back. Give us somewhere to escape.

Give him a sleeping pill. Dunno what the rules are on how old they have to be, but if you can, do it.

Let people play with them if they want. Dunno what it is, but sometimes those kids enjoy a fresh face. We had a kid screaming in the front seat during landing , and the girl I was working with made faces at the kid the entire time, and the kid sat there staring at her for the entire descent. Didn't say a word after that.

Oh, and punish the dad-gum kids if they're out of control!!! I See waaay too much of this. Dont do that "let them cry it out" stuff. If they're going to do that, give them something to cry about. :)

Theres no good place to change diapers. I've seen it on the seat, on the galley floor, and in the bathroom...Whatever. Though i hear we're adding changing tables in the bathroom..so ask when you get on.

But like you all know, I'm no father, this is just from my non-parenting point of view, things I see on the plane. If you don't like them, fine, these are just my ideas.

Other than that, just go, grit you teeth, and brace for the worst and hope for the best!!!

-JJ

Monday, September 26, 2005

Am I taking crazy pills?

I think we try too hard. Yes, racism does still exist today. It's unfortunate, but it's true. But I think we all just make it worse.

A lot of people, especially in the south, have grown up with certain ideals that aren't exactly...right...and thats not an excuse for them, but thats what they know and it's hard for them to change. Again, thats wrong, its not an excuse, but I can see that happening.

But when I open a newspaper and theres a huge write-up about how theres not enough black quarterbacks playing football, and theres not enough black coaches, and theres not enough black CEO's, and on and on and on, I think we've got a problem. Why do we have to make it an issue??? Why do we have to bring that up?? Not that we should ignore stuff like that, but I really don't think it's an issue. What are we supposed to do, start favoring a minority race over another? (affirmitive action..btw, possibly one of the most absurd things ever) Doesn't that just turn the tables? Isn't that still racism, just against another race? I just don't get it. And then the media brings it up and makes it an issue.

If we're all created equal, and we're all working for racial equality, then why can't we do just that? Treat people like they're a normal human being, not a charity case. That doesn't mean that every occupation has to be a perfect racial ratio. That'll never happen. But again, I don't think we should even think in those terms. It's simple. Take the best man for the job. So maybe we're protecting people from racists...fair enough. But I think they will be phased out. It takes time, but lets not make matters worse.

On a plane, I don't go out to serve drinks, and say to myself "ya know, I think I'm gonna serve black people first." Thats just dumb.

I don't like BET. Not like anything on it bothers me, but why you gotta call it that? Don't limit it to who its intended for.

I don't claim to have all the answers, I'm just pointing out a problem.

I dont' like to change subjects like this, but while we're on the media, imagine this: what if all they reported was good news? What if everytime you tuned in to the 6 o'clock news you saw people helping people instead of people killing people? I understand not as many people would watch, but do you think we'd have a better society as a whole? Would people be more positive? Would it inspire more people to do good instead of inspiring people to do more bad?

Maybe we've already experimented with this when they came out with Sunday Funday, and lets be honest...It just don't work. But It's a thought.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Gosh

Ok apparently that last story was a little too wierd for you guys. Sickos.

So I guess I'll give everybody a lil' update on my family and my home and our boat and my dog and my cat and my brother and my yard.

Everyone is fine, though when I call my parents I can tell my mother is becoming increasingly frustrated. She's gone back to work, as has my dad, but its just not the same. They have electricity, and we have a well so with electricity comes water, and my dad has some global internet thing so he has internet wherever he goes, but theres none at the home computer, and theres no cable. So its like they've backtracked about 20 years.

I havn't made it home yet, though we've started flying 2 flights in and out of houston. They did have a lot of yard work to be done...months worth, but apparently there was a church group or something drive down from arkansas and cleaned up the entire yard in a couple days..or a day..one of the two. So theres not a whole lot of work to be done, so if I go home I'll end up sitting at home while my parents are at work with no tv, no internet, and no car. So my parents suggested I wait before coming home. So thats what I shall do.

As for my dog and cat I assume they're happy since they don't watch tv or use the internet. And my dog has her space to run around in the yard.

So thats it! You've been great. Keep your noses and minds clean, kids.

-JJ

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Magic Retainer Story

Until last night I had completely forgotten about this story, but it defies everyone's imagination. It's so completely amazing and absurd that it deserves a spot on this blog. So here it goes:

Freshman year at ACU there was a freshman retreat. It was early in the semester, so we were still meeting people and striving you find our place and just fit in there. I had just recently met zach, and after a few days of convincing him that I wasn't someone's little brother and yes, I was actually going to school there, we had become pretty good friends. So that night we had grabbed bunk beds next to each other.

At this time I was still wearing my retainer at night So like usual, right after lying down in my bed, I placed my retainer in my mouth, laid down, put my head on my pillow, and kinda watched all the crazies be...well..crazy in the dorm. I wasn't really comfortable enough with everyone to act like that yet, so I just watched and talked to my new friend zach who was in his bed approximately 1 ft away.

A few minutes later we all turned in, lights went off, and I fell asleep. This is where the wierd stuff starts. From my point of view, I wake up early the next morning and find that same retainer lying next to me on the bed. This really isn't out of the ordinary, because my retainer routinely came out of my mouth in the middle of the night and ended up in my bed.

But this next morning, when Zach wakes up, he told me that about 3am, or somewhere around there, he had waken up and that same retainer was lying next to him, in his bed, under his covers, next to his waist. Thats right, my retainer had magically, somehow, jumped from my bed to his in the middle of the night, and had crawled under zachs covers.

So Zach naturally takes the retainer and throws it back in my direction and it ends up back in my bed, where it belongs.

So 6 years later we're still trying to figure out how this all happened.

-JJ

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Am I Too Nice?

As I sat in Chicago Bear traffic today, I think I allowed 4 people in in front of me. I don't usually have a problem with being nice and letting people in as long as I'm not in a hurry. And I have to get the hand wave. You know, the one thats really impossible to say "you're welcome" too.

Anyways, a few minutes later I was passing a white SUV when I noticed it halfway in my lane. Apparently I hadn't seen them want to get over, and at this point it wasn't going to happen. I sped up as I saw a look of disgust upon the ladies face. My first reaction was "thats what you get for yappin' on your cell phone, lady."

My next reaction was "dadgummit I've got that dang Abilene CHRISTIAN University sticker on the back of my car. I've just give n all us Christians a bad reputation.

But for real, where do you draw the line?? We should all be so nice as to let people in line in traffic, but there's gotta be a point where it stops. Do you want me to just stop and put on my blinkers and let the whole world in front of me? Is everybody gonna expect me to let them in? On the plane a bit part of our job is just to be nice. thats it. Simple. But you get too nice and people walk over you. They don't respect you.

I can't stand it when we land and I'm sitting on the front jumpseat right after we make the welcome announcement and tell everybody TO STAY IN YOUR FREAKIN SEAT WITH THAT SEATBELT ON until the sign goes off and we actually stop, and people start takin' they're seatbelts off. People right directly in front of me, people that i've been staring at and talking to for 20 mins, they take their seatbelts off. I mean its really not that big of a deal, honestly, cuz i know 75% of the plane is doing the same thing, but it represents a blatant disregard for anything we say. I always point it out, and say, "hey man, how you gonna do that right in front of me?" they kinda laugh it off and don't even bother to put it back on. I usually tell them that when we slam on the breaks and they fly out of they're seats and smack their heads into the bulkhead i'm gonna sit there and laugh. not move a muscle and just laugh. I actually tell them that too. It's just that we've been so dang nice the entire flight, they don't take us seriously anymore. Sometimes you have to draw the line and you look like a big fat jerk! the only thing they take us seriously at is overhead bin space. cuz they DON'T want their bags checked and they KNOW that we'll do it too.

But back to my point. You like to be nice but if you get TOO nice, then people start taking advantage of you. I know most of you are Christians and good public citizens and genuine NICE PEOPLE, but does anyone else ever feel taken advantage of? Like on the Subways in New York if you wear a T-Shirt that somehow identifies you as a Christian, you know the pan-handlers of the city are going to flock to you and EXPECT that you give them money. Or food. Or something. It's what you do. But we can't give to everybody!!! Where do we draw the line? And that one guy you turn down, shakes his head, turns around as he walks away, and calls you an SOB. Serious. It's happened to me before.

At my healthclub job in NYC, I wanted to help out as much as I could, so I started doing a little extra work to help the company out, and slowly but surely they wanted me to do more...and more..and more...and I started doing all this because I wanted to be nice and help people out, but they kept piling up more things that wasn't in my job description and I never saw an extra cent. NEVER. and I didn't want to be the selfish employee going in demanding a raise.

So I think I made my point. WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE ON ALL THIS NICENESS STUFF? WHEN DO I GET TO BE MEAN?

I think I need to take that ACU sticker off my car. It'll solve a lot of problems.

-JJ

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Summertime: A ReCap

I'm not the biggest summer fan, I personally think its a tad overrated, but throughout the season I realized that all most of you know about Chicago are the wintry pictures I sent back way back when when I moved in. I know, that was a long sentence, but on my biking adventures throughout the city, which is most of what I do here when I have free time, I stopped along the way to snap a few photos. They might not be the greatest pictures, but they should give you a good idea of what it's like here when 6 feet of snow doesn't cover the ground. Plus, just wait until I get my Canon 20D.




My Street


Yeah I dunno


My Apartment


Cubs Depreession is Everywhere








Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's a Fine Fine Day

It's hard to recover from an illness when you have to wake up at 4am.

And since thats what I had to do on Saturday night, I fell asleep to the Georgia-South Carolina game, which meant I missed LSU-ASU.

At 4am I flip on the T.V. to maybe catch a glimpse of the score before I left. To my surprise, I find the game still on, which left me scurrying to my watch to make sure I hadn't woken up at 11pm or 12pm instead of 4am. Turns out, it was just a replay, but the Tigers were down by 10.

About 4 hours later I found out they pulled it out in the waning minutes to secure the victory.

And how wonderful it was to arrive at my home in Chicago today to see that score "NO 23 CAR 20" flash across the screen!!! Our beloved region that has realized so much defeat in recent days has finally tasted the sweet taste of VICTORY! Amazing that our boys can not only get out there and actually play a game in times like these, but WIN! And Win against good teams they did!

I called my mom and when she picked up said "Mom! Our boys did it! They won!" I was somewhat shocked when she had no idea about the victory, but apparently they don't have cable back up yet, even though they have the internet?? I dunno, I don't question, but my mom was very interested in how the Saints walked out hand in hand to the cheers of the opposing crowd.

Then I realized my Mom is pretty much in the dark about anything thats going on in the world. She doesn't get to watch the news like we do. She wanted to know the reactions of the opposing fans, any signs they had, and how our team reacted.

So from now on I'm predicting the Tigers to win the National Championship...OUTRIGHT...with a victory over the blasted Trojans of USC, and the Saints will win the SuperBowl.

Ok, maybe that's asking a little much.

I guess it's enough to just think that maybe there are some smiling faces on the people who've been displaced and don't have much more to smile about.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Much ado about nothing

Just 2 days ago I was standing on the street corner in Nashville, and lo and behold who comes driving by? Laura Gore.

I havn't posted in a few days because I fell ill while in El Paso and its pretty much sapped me of all energy, including creative blogging energy. Which is why this post is so lame.

Thanks to The Prophecy for covering my butt in El Paso, as I was unable to stay up late and draft my fantasy football team. He drafted for me (as he did in baseball) and yet again did an outstanding job.

Many people have asked how they can help my parents. I asked my mom today, and she said 2 things: "Chainsaws and Manpower."

Speaking of my parents, they have returned home and are living by a generator, and things are slowly..very slowly..returning to normalcy. My mom went grocery shopping and rented a movie today.

If you've tried calling me recently and I didn't answer and have yet to return your call, its because, like I said, I'm ill and I have a sore throat and I can barely talk cuz it hurts. I'll get back to you soon.

-JJ

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ode to my Bro

So me and my brother have an interesting relationship. Maybe its typical of brothers. We rarely talk, see each other really just on holidays, but when we are together we basically pick up where we left off. Thats just the way it is. We did our own thing growing up, and we do our own thing while we're grown up.

If you dont' know, my brother is in the Coast Guard and is a Helicopter flight mechanic. He's the guy that drops down the basket go get people...and fixes the plane when needed. He's stationed in Mobile, Al, so he's been quite involved in the whole rescue effort.

So I was thinking today that maybe I'm taking my brother and all his good deeds in such trying times a little too lightly. He recently sent me an email of all he was doing and I'll just go ahead and copy paste it. Its quite amazing.

"I tell you what, It's been a mad house around here. We are on a 24/7 rotation, flights leaving and coming back every few hours. I had my first opportunity to go over to the city last night and picked up 7 people off the roof of an elementary school. Then 5 off a roof of a house including a 6 month old, her mother, and their grandfather. Then we picked up 5 more off a nearby balcony with a very elderly couple. They must have been 75 years old and had been there for 4 days. That hoist was so tight that we had our tail rotor blades in tree branches most of the hoist. Pretty crazy. I have to get back to work turning these hellos around. Talk to you later. "

So I just wanted to tell my bro well done, my friend, well done, and keep up the good work.

-JJ

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Miraculous

Ok so the personal vendetta against Katrina is pretty much over. I got to talk to Super Ted yesterday. He and my mom went down to check on the house, and said that we have 2 trees down, but non caused any damage, unless you count the neighbors fence we now have to pay for. The yard is a mess, but nothing a little manual labor can't take care of. (Dont look at me!!!)

They aslo went to check on the boat, and, somehow, it survived unscathed. I'm sure a lot are happy about that. If it weren't for the boat, there'd be no reason to go back to La!!!! (Just kidding mom and dad)

Anyways, so I think that pretty much ends the Jackson saga with Katrina, except for my brother who is still airlifting people off their roofs...still very cool and I know he's gonna have some great stories.

Anyways, I just wanted to thank everyone for being so concerned for me and my family. If you click just below the counter on this blog, it will give you stats on how many visits i've gotten, and my visits went from around 130 (which is really good) one day to over 400 the next. I'm very thankful for the concern. I still get a couple phone calls to check on the family.

Anyways, lets all just hope and pray that we can get this tragedy under control and get those poor people out of that city and move on. Help has taken way too long to get there, but all that is really meaningless until we actually get the job done, then we can look back to see what went wrong. I was proud of my family to hear that they had been handing out gatorade to those waiting in line for the gas station in Mississippi. Just shows the little ways that we can help. As we say at southwest..."Lets Git'r'done!!"

-JJ

Friday, September 02, 2005

So I hear

I am currently working, so when i got off the plane today, i had a message from my dad that he was in mississippi with my mom, so he is officially out of "harms" way. Which is very good news. We still don't have "official" news about the house, but word has it that its fine. Unfortunately I've been unable to call them back. I kept getting busy signals and when i finally got through, it was my cousin Maggie.

First of all let me say this is the 4th out of 5 times that my mother's phone has been answered by another family member. And every time its someone different. Hmmm..

Anyways, Maggie told me their electricity was back on. So hopefully they are back to living comfortably.

Also my brother is now doing actual search and rescue...if you watch the news of the coast gaurd guys up in the choppers, operating the wench to lift refugees off of roofs...and then helping them into the helicopter..thats my brother. I bet he'll have some great stories.

So in a recent blog I mentioned how I felt worthless sitting in a nice air conditioned apartment and eating all the food I want, and that I wish I could help out. Well I guess I spoke too soon.

Flight from Vegas to Sacramento, me and Trudy, my crewmember, were doing our fine job of passing out peanuts when i heard a "thud" come from the back galley. I saw a lady back there bending over doing something that I couldn't see. I said "what on earth was that??" and me and trudy both looked back to figure out was going on. It took me a split second to realize that a gentleman had passed out back there. Great. First medical emergency ever. Trudy is closest so she runs back there, gets on the PA system, and tells the other FA Jon to get back there. Thats when passengers all start staring towards the back. Then Trudy yells "Is there a medical proffesional on board??" and I swear 6 people jumped up. I had to have a bunch of them sit down, and 2 of them with Trudy attended to the Man. I ran to gather the equipment, the defibrillater, oxygen, EEMK and such, while jon called the captain and told him to patch through to Medlink. (Medlink is a system that puts us in touch with medical professionals to advise us to what to do) I put on the headset to get patched through, even though we never successfully made a patch. (its not a failproof system) About 10 mins later, he was able to get up and shake it off. Apparently he had gone to the back to throw up, had gotten dizzy, and fallen over and hit his head on the door. He was OK now though.

Whew. And I'd like to mention that we still got our drinks out. :)

As we pulled into the gate, EMT's were standing by to do final checks on him to make sure he was ok.

-JJ

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Homeward Bound

My mom was supposed to be driving down to the house to see the damage, and I called her today to get the news. I found my mom sitting out on the porch with the rest of my family in Mississippi trying to stay cool, and they had more important matters than our house on they're minds.

They were trying to get my dad home. They were on the phone with him, and had convinced him that his job was done and things had deteriorated to the point where it was time for him to come home. Apparently he's obliged, and they are currently forming a plan. My dad has to find a ride to a "checkpoint" (this is all sounding much like Iraq news) where my mom will pick him up. My mom has sounded extremely tense and bewildered I guess every time I talk to her. Once my dad gets back I'm sure she'll be much relieved. Shes been worried sick, and understandably. Me and my bro have grown up with my dad doing stuff like this, (gulf war, berlin wall coming down) so when i talked to my brother and told him the story of him rowing for 4 hours, we all just laughed. We still think he's crazy.

My mom asked my dad at what point did he think it was time to come home. He said it was when the police started barricading themselves in to protect themselves from everyone else.

So the wheels are in motion for Ted to come home.

As for my brother, he's been working this whole time in Mobile, making sure choppers are ready to go. He was supposed to make his first search and rescue mission this morning, but he said they'd been grounded because of the shots fired at the helicopters.

-JJ