Improvements.

Apple Maps is a classic example of what happens when you don’t have the software where it needs to be upon its initial release. Despite all of the improvements Apple has made over the years, Maps still has a poor reputation. Google Maps seems to be the default choice of users, even those using iPhones and the like.

Recent improvements to Apple Maps have been impressive. Signalized intersections are now marked with a stop light icon. Speed limit data was accurate through a construction zone.

Personally I like Apple Maps and I find the quality on par with Google’s counterpart. Yelp integration is nice, the only step I’d ask Apple to take is to not require opening the Yelp app for diving into details on a location.

Impressive.

I have been using my iPad Pro on this entire flight. Well, I didn’t use it for 45 minutes when I took a nap. But I’ve been using my iPad Pro for around seven hours, connected to United’s WiFi, and I still have 46% of my battery remaining.

Tablet computing is the future.

I’ve watched videos, I’ve written blog entries, and I’ve been monitoring our flight progress on FlightRadar24. I can tell you which app is the largest battery hog and that would be the Facebook app. Plus, the WiFi has been spotty over the ocean, and mind you, I’m not complaining, because WiFi in the middle of the Pacific would have made the entire plot foundation of “Gilligan’s Island” moot. I’m very impressed I’ve maintained relatively good WiFi for this entire flight.

From an aviation perspective I’ve learned a lot on this flight. I’m more keyed up than ever to get my further certifications. Let make this happen!

United 772 Domestic First Class.

So Earl and I invested in the upgrade to first class for our trip to Hawaii. It’s like a drug; once you fly First Class, you’re addicted to First Class. Now when I fly for work or pleasure and unable to get into First Class I can be a little cranky. Premium Economy offers some consolation, but even then there’s always that horrible feeling of possibly ending up in double-digit row.

I clench my jaw and play a snob with the best of them.

This is our first time flying in the “Version 4” configuration of United’s First Class offering on the Boeing 777. The seating arrangement is odd. We are in row 3. The seating arrangement is 2-4-2. Seats 3A-B and 3K-L are facing the rear of the aircraft. Seats 3D-G are facing the front of the aircraft. The row is staggered so that the outer seats are parallel to the entertainment “wall” separating the inner seats from the previous row, which is facing the back of the aircraft. Our entertainment screens are back to back, and likewise for the outer rows. Because of this arrangement I can easily look the passengers in 3A-B, 3K-L directly in the eye. Not awful but unusual for an airline flight. Luckily, Jamie and Chris are closest to our sight line.

This direct flight from Chicago O’Hare to Honolulu is approximately nine hours long. We left the gate on time at 10:10 with wheels up at 10:40 Central. Wheels down will be around 15:15 Hawaii, which is four hours behind Central. For assistance with the mathematics, wheels down is 19:15 Central. In American civilian terms, that’s 7:15 PM. The entertainment offerings are robust enough to keep everyone entertained for such a journey. The system is easy to navigate with the seat mounted remote control.

Speaking of the seats, they are quite comfortable and perfectly capable of lying completely flat. Again, it’s easy for the outer seats to see what the inner seats are doing, and vice-versa, so there’s that small element of a lack of privacy, but the provided amenities are quite nice. The pillow is fluffy and the Saks Fifth Avenue blanket is impressively heavy.

Lunch was served around 11:15 Central, which is 7:15 Hawaii time. We were not presented with a menu but addressed by the crew by name, who then gave us a verbal list of choices. My husband had beef tips and I had a fish dish with lobster sauce. A salad with Sesame Ginger dressing was included, as well as a dinner roll but I didn’t get a roll for some reason. I didn’t bother to ask for one. Maybe it’s under my seat. For dessert a coconut flavored ice cream sundae was on tap and though the ice cream was very frozen and hard, it was delicious.

Overall I was hoping our First Class experience would include the “pods” we experienced flying LAX to ORD in 2019, but I feel like we are getting our investment’s worth with what we are experiencing today. There are much better offerings for First Class experiences out there, especially when flying internationally, but the airplane feels “fresh”, the crew has been top-notch and I’m pleased with the experience thus far. It makes logical sense that flying ORD to HNL is a Domestic Flight, but with half of the flight over the ocean and the entire flight longer than some international offerings from United, I would think this experience would be more in line with the Polaris International experience. However, I am without complaint. With four hours left to go on this flight I’m confident my satisfaction level will continue this pace and I recommend flying in the manner as your budget or points allow.

Blue skies!

UA 219.

I’m writing this from over the Grand Canyon. I can’t show a photo as I’m not in a window seat on this trip, so I’ll show you where we are.

I downloaded a bunch of television shows and movies to watch on my iPad Pro for this flight but I’m passing the time by playing on the Internet and listening to the live feed of Air Traffic Control from the cockpit.

Listening to ATC is making me yearn to be flying this airplane.

I’m excited about our vacation. This will be our second time to Hawaii and we are focusing on relaxing at the resort and living a carefree lifestyle for the next week. Getting away from the cold, even though it’s been a very mild winter thus far in Chicago, will be a nice change of pace. Seeing the sun will also be awesome; we’ve had clouds for the past two weeks.

I haven’t flown nearly enough this winter.

Mentally this vacation has been a “hump” in my timeline. I’ve been coasting through life a bit since the holidays, with the intent go get all focused again after a week on Oahu.

UA 219 is onboard a Boeing 777. The flight is nonstop ORD to HNL. This is the longest flight I’ve been on thus far. The crew is friendly and efficient, the experience is pleasant.

A wonderful start to this time away.

Flight.

Today was an intense day at work. Daydreaming about past flights got me through it.

Here is a picture of me from August 2014. At the time I was still a student pilot and my instructor signed me off for a solo flight to an EAA Pancake Breakfast at KFZY. I vividly recall the entire flight; Earl followed along in the car, listening to my radio calls on a handheld radio.

This flight was the first time I squeaked the tires on landing. It was an awesome day.

Temperament.

Shortly before his passing, when talking about his role as Major Roger Healey on “I Dream of Jeannie”, Bill Daily mentioned that Barbara Eden was one of the most even tempered person he had ever worked with, or for that matter, ever met. On the set of IDOJ she never got angry. Ever. Even when Larry Hagman was carrying on with his shenanigans all over the set (drinking champagne for breakfast, under the influence of drugs while filming, having hissy fits about the script, etc.), Barbara was the rock. Always steady. Always focused. Never angry.

I admire this about her.

I’ve been watching interviews featuring Barbara and she always has that pleasant demeanor and mischievous laugh she had way back in the 1960s. I had the opportunity to shake her hand once and she was very pleasant as she said hello, making her way down a line of fans during a “Nick At Night” roadshow in either 1989 or 1990.

I’m curious how she achieved this temperament. Was she just wired to be even keeled? Does she meditate? Do yoga? Chant? Float? What’s her secret?

I could use a few doses of this Edenism. I get way too passionately irritated about trivial things, especially things I can not change. “Set a good example for the world”, this is something I always say. I need to focus on that more.

But sometimes it can be so tiring.

No segue.

Back in 2000, Sony/Columbia Pictures had the black and white episodes of both “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” remastered and colorized. Like many colorization projects, some of the color selections for various shots are not accurate. On “Bewitched”, Endora’s robes are colored green and purple, which were absolutely accurate for the originally color later episodes of the series. But during the black and white years, Endora’s witchy robes were actually all shades of lavender.

Along similar lines, Barbara Eden’s Jeannie on “I Dream of Jeannie” actually wore a couple of different harem costumes that first year. In the colorized episodes they’re all shades of pink, but in actuality, one of the costumes was actually green, as shown in the picture above. There’s an early color episode from the second season where Jeannie wears the green outfit so we know it to be true, but the colorized first season episodes show that costume in pink. Next time you watched a colorized episode look for tassels hanging off her headpiece. The tassels were on the green costume, not the pink one.

She later wore the same costume when playing her dark-haired sister Jeannie.

Commute.

I have one of the sweetest work gigs I can imagine. I am a staff manager of five, I get to play with computers all day, and I like the company I’m working for. Plus, I get to work from home. I’ve been working full-time from home for over six years. It takes discipline, both to stay focused during work intervals and to not engage in work stuff too much in the non-traditional work hours.

When I go for my morning walk I am always aware of folks rushing out of their homes into the darkened Chicago morning. They’re making their way to the nearest ‘L’ stop or to their car parked nearby. As my morning walk usually takes an hour or so, there’s a lot more vehicular traffic in the latter half of my walk versus the first half. I think about these folks driving to their work. I then start delving in philosophical territory.

I wonder what it is about American culture that compels us to live in such reliance on our cars. Folks in our neighborhood have plenty of public transportation options: the ‘L’ has plenty of stops nearby, METRA (the commuter train) passes through from southern Wisconsin to downtown Chicago, and CTA buses are everywhere. We live in a very commuter connected part of the city, it’s one of the reasons we chose this neighborhood. Yet, many folks opt to drive their car to The Loop to work in one of the skyscrapers, or they drive to a work location in another part of the city, one that may well be accessible by public transportation.

Driving a vehicle reinforces one’s sense of independence. I get that, I know that feeling, and I drive for fun more often than I probably should in this era of Climate Change and the like. And it’s Climate Change that weighs on my mind when I’m thinking about this. Does working from home really help reduce my carbon footprint? Am I burning more energy in my home than I would using public transportation to get to an office building?

I might have to do some reading up on this so I have a better grasp of the numbers. Knowledge fires up passion when I’m intrigued. And learning is better than flipping through Twitter or something.

I still wondering how these folks can drive their cars to work everyday. I really don’t enjoy driving in the city. I find it incredibly annoying. Everyone is forced to the lowest common denominator of driver ability and my patience wears thin.

I shall now embark on my commute from the living room to my home office.