Austin

Monday and it started with an early flight to Austin. I got to the gate, American this time, and it was overloaded with three flights. For over an hour I listened to them droning on about Minneapolis and Cleveland and some new flight attendant who was in the airport and "probably meeting with management," and amazingly the entire Austin flight boarded without anyone ever saying the word "Austin." God's honest truth. Sixty people slipped in quietly behind me and at the tail end I heard "final boarding call for Austin." So on I went. A flight attendant does her thing and then gets into her jump seat as we prepare for takeoff, and she asks if I know a guy named Paul with the same last name as me. Nope. "Well," she says, "he is an extremely talented musician in California near where I live. So sad though. He is full of cancer. And only 40 or 45. Probably closer to 40. And he has kids."

Jesus. Nice chipper start to a Monday. Once in flight I got to enjoy her sign language skills as she tried to help an elderly Indian couple to my right. Two cups of hot tea. She gets the attention of her colleague way up front, and up go the hands. Two fingers. Hands in T-shape. Two fingers. Hands in T-shape. Thank God the other idiot figured it out, because I was about to yell the order down the aisle before I got hit up with another terminal illness story.

I got to the room, the Radisson this week, and I was glad to see that the TV was a) accessible and b) equipped with HDMI ports. Two weeks ago in New Jersey it was success when I took the swanky wooden frame off to get at the HDMI port. The input button on the remote actually worked, so I was in luck. The next week, at the same hotel, I could not change the input after the same wooden frame removal operation. Foiled. Had to start packing the universal remote after that.

Then it was San Francisco, and there I had to remove a black plastic cover to get at the TV ports. Laughably the TV had every type of port except HDMI, so I was screwed there too. Progressive California, and somehow they get flat panel TVs with no HDMI ports. All of this in my quest to not have to deal with hotel cable and the nonsense of "reality" shows, all flavors of pawn, Deadliest Catch, Deadliest Loggers, Dirt Loggers, Mouse Hunters, L.A. Ink, Toledo Ink. You get the idea.

This week I have a wonderful little TV with accessible ports and a working input button. The TV is a bit out of reach for the cable from the desk, but no worries there. At least I can stream high-quality shows like "Troll 2" instead of watching the latest episode of "Shameless" for the 20th time. Goes to show the level of hotel TV when I'd prefer "Troll 2" to regular shows. I'm a big fan of the librarian vampire with the green frosted cake. NILBOG!

Back to work I guess. I'm going to enjoy the small pleasure that is my hotel desk chair. It is at the right level for the desk, and it doesn't drop 1/4" every 15 minutes. Almost makes the arabica blend gourmet roast coffee seem real.