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13 March 2007 --  Major RANT:  Why I Hate United Airlines

I know better.  I really do.  I used to be one of United's biggest advocates.  When people asked me who I would choose to fly on -- somehow
mistakenly believing that because I'm an air traffic controller that I have even the vaguest clue which airlines treat their passengers decently -- I
would always put United at or very near the top of the list.  And for a lot of years, they lived up to that positive attitude.  

Then, a couple of years back,
after their little foray into Chapter 11 and subsequent recovery, I began to run into problems.  After 3 reservations
with them (and only one flight completed out of the three), I've come to the conclusion that their #1 Customer Service Policy is:  LIE to the

It all began a few months before I was due to fly out to Burbank, CA for the 2005 Farscape Convention.  I had booked my flight pretty early
because I had caught a really good deal on the ticket.  Almost immediately, I started getting those wonderful e-mails announcing that there had
been a schedule change.  No big deal.  I understand that changing their flight schedules is well within their rights, and it didn't particularly bother
me.  The only trick was that I had booked through O'Hare.  Again, not a big deal as long as you know what you are doing, and plan around one
of the biggest perpetual traffic jams in the U.S. air traffic system.  I had allowed almost 2 hours to make my connection.  Since I was scheduled to
depart out of Burlington, VT first thing in the morning, I knew that there was a very high likelihood that I would get into O'Hare before the day's
ongoing aerial constipation had an opportunity to develop.

Then the real fun began.  In an attempt to keep the story from turning into a novel-length epic, suffice it to say that over the space of several
weeks and a veritable flood of e-mails, they eventually shortened that connection time down to 40 minutes.  

FORTY MINUTES?!?!?!?!?!?!

That's not considered a 'legal' connection even by United's standards.  The minimum recommended connection time through O'Hare, according
to United Airlines, is 50 minutes.  Minimum.  So I called, and asked for a change to my ticket.  The answer was ... NO.  No change, no chit, no
credit, no alternatives.  Just ... no.  I could kiss my ticket goodbye, or take the flight as it stood.  The only alternative they gave me was to move to
a later flight OUT of O'Hare, headed for Denver, which would leave me with a 40 minute connection in Denver.  In case you're not familiar with the
U.S. airline industry, they normally begin boarding 30 minutes before a scheduled departure.  So if your flight is 5 minutes late getting off the
ground -- which is not an unreasonable expectation when you take into account the time necessary to taxi out from the gate, sit in line near the
end of the runway, wait for some arrivals, and finally get cleared for takeoff -- and 5 minutes late arriving, then by the time you and the other 100
passenger manage to emerge from the aircraft in a process reminiscent of half-frozen toothpaste gradually making its way out of the tube,
they're going to already be a third of the way through the boarding process for your next flight.  At an airport the size of O'Hare or Denver
(Denver is HUGE), you simply are NOT going to make your connection.  Any ticket agent or customer service rep who tries to convince you
otherwise is lying through his or her teeth.  

I think the high point in the rather frustrating conversation was when the customer service person said, "Ma'am, you must realize that if you miss
your connection, or encounter any problem during your flight, we're going to do everything possible to make sure you get to your destination."  

To which I replied (rather snarkily), "If you are every bit as helpful during my flight as you are being right now, I'm never going to make it to
California!!"  As far as I could gather from the gulping and lack of smooth (but false) assurances coming from the other end of the phone
connection, the training manual hadn't covered that specific reply.

Jump to the end of this chapter of the story:  I had a free ticket's worth of frequent flier miles racked up on a Capital One VISA account, and I
spotted an exceptional fare from Burlington to Burbank on JetBlue.  I told United (by letter) to keep their <censored> ticket (no, I didn't really use
profanity in the letter), to keep their money, and that I would never fly United again.  In an attempt to convey how disgruntled I was, I cut up my
United Frequent Flier card, and taped the bits to the bottom of the letter.  

I had to eat those words, I fear.

I did receive a letter in response.  It was full of empty, trite phrases, and not a single offer for anything as small as a free drink on board my next
flight on United.  Yeah ... they want my business, all right.  More like they want the contents of my wallet and once they've got their hands on my
money, they couldn't care less if I'm happy with the service.  Plenty more saps out there to fill their seats.

Jump forward to September 2006.  I was headed to Dresden, Germany to visit with a friend for two weeks.  I discovered that unless I wanted to
swim or travel by boat, I was going to wind up riding over the Atlantic Ocean on United Airlines, drat it all!  I grit my teeth and booked the ticket.

Next time I'll walk.

Our flight out of Burlington got delayed, I missed my connection in Washington Dulles, and that's when the games began.  I got lied to no less
than ten times over the next few hours.  I don't mean light-weight, placating lies like "I'm terribly sorry, ma'am."  I mean heavy-duty outright lies
that prevent a passenger from getting on the earliest flight possible.

"I'm sorry, we can't get you on that flight.  It's too close to departure time."  LIE.  I found out later that it's a pain in the ticket agent's butt to do it,
but they could have had me on the flight ... if they gave a rat's ass about getting the passenger to his or her destination.

"If you go right over there, they can reticket you."  LIE.  The desk he was pointing at was for domestic travel (within the U.S.) only.  Since he was
boarding a flight for Frankfurt, Germany, and checking passports in the process, you can't convince me he didn't know we were talking about an
international flight.  

"You'll be fine on standby.  I guarantee you'll get on the airplane."  LIE.  The flight was overbooked, for god's sake!!!  Not only did none of the
standby passengers not get on the aircraft, they had to solicit volunteers to give up their reserved tickets.  

"You'll be fine on standby  I guarantee you'll get on the airplane."  Different flight, same LIE.  I said I wanted a reserved seat, even if it meant
waiting until the next day.  

"You'll be fine on standby  I guarantee you'll get on the airplane."  (Didn't we just go through this?)  I had to threaten to tear up the boarding
pass if she put me on standby.  

Upshot:  If I didn't take the final standby ticket, I wasn't leaving until the next day anyway, so I figured it was worth the risk.  I did eventually get on
the aircraft, but mine was the last butt that went into a seat before they closed the door.  Yeah, I'll be fine all right.  She was one seat away from
another United Lie.  

I eventually got to Germany, but as you might guess from this diatribe, I wasn't too fond of United Airlines by the time I got there.  

Time for a confession.  I went and got stupid ... AGAIN.  (When will I ever learn?)  I booked a flight from Burlington to Sacramento on United
Airlines because their flight schedule matched up with when I wanted to depart and arrive, the price was right ... AND ... I had an upgrade worth
of frequent flier miles.


Here's how upgrades work on United.  You check for available seats.  The upgrade is listed as available.  You apply for the upgrade.  They
TAKE YOUR MILES, and then they give you the upgrade for the short chunk of the flight from Vermont to Chicago, but wait-list you for the empty
seats from Chicago to Sacramento (the part that really counts) and continue selling the seats to the people with money instead of miles.  Keep in
mind that I checked to see if upgrades were available for that leg before I applied.  The answer was yes ... until I applied for the upgrade, when it
abruptly changed to no.  According to United's policies, since I'm getting the upgrade for a portion of the itinerary, I do NOT get a refund of my
miles if I take the upgrade for the first leg of the flight.  So I call United right away, within minutes of upgrading, and attempt to 'un-upgrade'.  The
customer service rep (always keeping in mind that United customer service reps are, as far as I can determine, trained to LIE to the customers
rather than tell them something they might not want to hear) tells me that I'll get charged the $100.00 reticketing fee in order to downgrade.  
<insert the little guy inside my head waving the 'WTF?' sign here>  I questioned it more than once, but the rep insisted that I would get charged
$100.00 to go from First to Economy.  This rep also insisted that I would get a portion of my miles back.  I quoted the section of the Upgrade
FAQs posted on United's website about not getting my miles back, but the young woman on the other end of the phone, ever duty-bound to her
United indoctrination, continued to tell the big honkin' fibs and insisted I'd get a portion of my miles back if I didn't get my upgraded seat between
Chicago and Sacramento.  As a little prevarication-icing-on-the-cake,  I was also told I could call closer to the date of the flight and possibly
confirm my upgraded seat between Chicago and Sacramento.  

By this time, I'm finally and belatedly catching on to the entire LIE gig, so I don't really believe it, but I wasn't about to pay $100.00 to move from
Business Class back to economy, so I suck up the loss of my 15,000 miles, I wait a couple of weeks, and I try to confirm an upgraded seat
anyway ... just in case there's a fool on the other end of the phone and they give me the seat by accident.  

This time I at least ran into a rep who didn't lie.  I don't get my miles back, I don't get my upgrade (all the big seats up front have been sold), I
don't get charged if I want to downgrade, but unfortunately the flight is full, so if I want to downgrade in order to preserve my 15,000 frequent flier
miles, I'll be placed on standby status.  With the phrase
"You'll be fine on standby  I guarantee you'll get on the airplane." still ringing in my ears
after last summer, I declined to submit to that bit of foolishness for the fourth time in my life.

Upshot:  I just expended 15,000 frequent flier miles for a 1 hour and 50 minute flight between Burlington and Chicago ... and in the end, it's my
fault because I knew ahead of time that United Airlines is the original "rip off the passenger for the most money and give them the least amount
possible in return while consistently lying to them at every opportunity" airline of all time.  

I'm such a frelling sap.

If anyone ever catches me making noises about riding on United ever again ... please shoot me.
23 February 2007 -- The Best Laid Plans and All That Jazz

I had hoped to get a little writing done tonight ... this morning ... whenever.  It is 1:20am, and I just got home from work.              This isn't all that
unusual for me.  When I have this particular shift, I normally get out of work at 12:15am, and walk in the door of the house around 12:30.  That
changes if a number of factors all come together; 1) there are late arrivals headed for the airport that will arrive some time shortly after midnight;
2) the weather is lousy, so the aircraft will need an instrument approach; and 3) the winds are cranking out of the northwest.  When those three
elements combine, it means the aircraft require an instrument landing system that the overlying facility cannot provide.  The "overlying facility"
(overlying, because when we are open, their airspace is above us ... theirs overlies ours) is the Boston Enroute Center, also known as an
ARTCC, that takes over our airspace from the time we close until we open again at 5:30am.  For a lot of confusing reasons that I won't go into
tonight (or this morning, depending on your perspective), the controllers at the Center can't provide the kind of control that allows the aircraft to
fly this particular approach.  Suffice it to say ... we gotta stay.  

I usually come home, wander around bumping into walls for a while, relax, feed the cat, chase her around the house several times, unwind, read
for a little while, maybe write a little bit, and finally tumble into bed around 2:00 or 2:30.  I got a story going earlier this evening, and had planned
to write for an hour or two when I got home.  

Oh well.  Having a nice little daisy chain of arrivals moseying down final approach at half past midnight is worth it.  Working until 1:00am, on the
other hand, is something for young folk.  Nine hour days are for the young whippersnappers ... not us over-the-hill old farts.  

There's tomorrow.  The story will still be there, tucked up safe and warm inside my noggin.  .
21 February 2007 -- I Gotta Get Out Of This Place

I've been on vacation for a majority of the last two weeks, and it has been glorious.  (I can never write or say those four words without hearing
Aeryn talking to Ennix in 'The Locket' inside my head.)  I was supposed to spend just under half of it getting to and from Hunt Valley, Maryland
and visiting with a gaggle of Scapers there, but was thwarted by the blizzard last week.  I have never had a large storm hit the northeast so
perfectly timed and so well-aimed as to completely eliminate all my travel options.  I considered bookin' out of  town a day early (leaving on
Wednesday instead of Thursday), but the storm was coming up from the southwest ... which is to say that it was tracking pretty much right along
my route of travel.  Buggers.  In retrospect, after reading about the kinds of travel debacles that occurred, I'm glad I didn't try it.  Among other
things, Route 78 in Pennsylvania was closed down for TWO days, United Airlines was leaving passengers stranded in peculiar airports without
much in the way of assistance, and JetBlue's dispatch and reservations system suffered (in the words of one of the company's officers) a
meltdown.  Not that I had planned to fly.  Those three examples simply illustrate how bad it was 'out there' last week.

Lesson to be learned:  Don't travel in February.  

But, as usual, I digress.

This has been the first "nothing planned" vacation I've taken in five or six years.  I attended my first 'coagulation' of Scapers in July 2002, and
pretty much every day of vacation since then has been to get together with one or more of these extraordinary people.  I wouldn't have traded a
single one of those moments for anything else, but it's been ... busy.  Wonderfully busy, but busy.  What is interesting about that and the
vacation I just took is just how far behind I have fallen in completing the more boring, mundane things in life.  There were about five years of tiny,
thoroughly unexceptional tasks piles up around the house ... and that doesn't even count the homeownership type chores like patching the
popcorn coating on the bathroom ceiling!  (Real exciting stuff.)  I've been "puttering" for a week straight, accomplishing nothing worth mentioning,
and as of this morning, I feel like I'm pretty much caught up.

The other quasi-remarkable (or not remarkable at all, depending on your viewpoint) aspect of taking a two week vacation in order to do nothing
concerns getting enough sleep.  There have been several occasions over the past 24+ years when I have either been on extended leave
(medical leave) or have taken a temporary office job (Quality Assurance or Training), either of which allowed me to go to bed and get up at the
same time of day, every day, for either weeks or months.  In each instance, it always took a full week for my body to rediscover that little mystery
known as 'circadian rhythms', and to settle into a routine.  This time around, it has taken the best part of two weeks to 1) settle into something
approaching a routine; and 2) to catch up on sleep.  Two weeks.  Zoikes.

I've known for a long time that I'm perpetually mildly to moderately sleep-deprived.  I once read that if it takes someone under one minute to fall
asleep, that they are probably chronically short on sleep.  It usually takes me about 10 seconds!  There are nights when I barely remember
getting into bed.  From where I sit, it's not a big deal.  Shift work is part and parcel of the job, after all.  I knew I'd be working rotating shifts and
peculiar combinations of days off when I signed on to be a controller.  Back in the dark ages when I got hired by the FAA, the Air Traffic Academy
was still running classes two shifts a day ... a vast improvement over the three-shift schedule some classes ahead of ours had to endure.  (Can
you imagine trying to learn stuff on third-shift?  It's all I can do to keep breathing at 3:00am!)  But all of that happened when I was in my 20's.  
Now I'm coming up on age 50 in a rush.

Yes, there's a point to this rambling, disorganized mess.  

The past two weeks are simply more evidence that I need to get out of this job, and into something else.  I don't have any illusions that this is
going to happen any time soon.  I suspect that, barring any major adjustments to my financial situation, such as hitting the Megabucks for even
the smallest jackpot they offer, I will continue to work for the FAA for the next four or five years.  But getting enough sleep, and feeling relaxed
and well-rested, are precious commodities that cannot be assigned a dollar value.  

And just as the entire controller workforce is hurtling toward their mid-50's, staffing is dropping at a calamitous rate.  There will not be any quick
fixes for this problem.  The FAA has known that this moment was coming ever since the strike in 1981, and they simply would not, for whatever
politically-driven reasons were behind this decision, begin the hiring and training process before the aging controllers began to retire.  The FAA
keeps chanting that there is not a staffing crisis.  Among their many claims, they say that staffing levels are being reduced to more accurately
reflect the amount of traffic the facilities are handling; i.e. that we've been overstaffed for many years, and they are simply implementing a  
correction of sorts.  I won't get into that.  All other issues aside (and plenty of arguments and claims get hauled into this particular fray), one fact
tends to go unanswered.  A very, very, very large portion of the controller workforce right now is made up of us gray-hairs.  Young
whippersnappers can work shift work and still remain attentive and alert.  Us old farts are struggling.  Just as we need longer turn-arounds
between shifts, and a steadier 40-hour work week, we're getting calls for overtime, hold-overs, last minute changes to our work schedules, and
less leave.  It's a beautiful thing!  (Yes, that is undisguised sarcasm.)

Thus, the conclusion of today's wandering pseudo-rant is:  I really gotta retire.  
14 February 2007 -- Happy Valentine's Day!!

I had intended to dedicate this entire entry (and tomorrow's) to SNOW!!!  But I began snapping more and more pictures, both on Wednesday the
14th, and even more on Thursday, the 15th, so I finally just built a separate page, rather than overload this page of the Mushroom Patch with
pictures.  The latest snow gallery can be found at the
Valentine's Day Blizzard 2007 page.
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13 February 2007 -- Not The Brain Trust

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to talk for a few moments about backing up files and, more importantly, the proper use of the
"Autosave" feature provided by many programs.

Short version:  DO IT!!!  

Longer version:  

A few years back, I owned a particularly tempermental Compaq laptop that had the rather unfortunate habit of crashing approximately every six
months.  This was more than a little discouraging, especially when you consider that the laptop I owned prior to "Crashes 'R Us" was also a
Compaq, and the last time I checked, it was still plugging along reliably for its new owner even after several upgrades and several bouts of
reconstructive surgery.  The point about Compaq Mark II is that I believe it was sent to me by the Gods Of Cruel Lessons in order to teach me to
back up my frelling harddrive periodically.  It worked.  After losing 80 pages of what was shaping up into a novel-length story in the first of several
total crashes, I became downright obsessive about backing up my files.  Just for the record, these were not wimpy, light-weight, blue screen of
death, reboot-the-computer-and-all-will-be-well crashes.  These were major league crashes that resulted in a complete loss of pretty much
everything on the harddrive.  Later in life and a few miles down the road to computer literacy, I would eventually learn that the source of the
problem was corrupted files within the operating system, possibly due to a power problem inside the laptop itself, and that a true guru could have
replaced the files and got the ugly little demon running again.  That, however, is ancient history, and the lesson would have been lost on me.

So after that bit of hard-won learning, you would think that I would be more conscientious about hitting the "Save" button a bit more often when I
am working on any kind of project that requires a significant time investment.  Or that I might employ the Autosave feature that is available in so
many programs these days.  

But noooooooooooooooooooooooooo ... I can't be that smart.  I have to learn the hard way!!!  I have to spend a little over 3 hours yesterday
morning typing up a Mushroom Patch entry that (if you'll forgive the conceit) is so funny that I had to stop several times because I was crying and
couldn't see the screen, and just as I realize that I had shut off the Autosave feature the last time I used the SiteBuilder software because of an
idiosyncrasy in the way that it operates, and that I probably ought to hit the save button (just in case, you know), guess what happened.  


Fear not.  I will retype it at some point.  It was too silly and manic not to get it posted here eventually.

Sermon over ... for today.  On to other shallow insights and possibly meaningless revelations about life.

For the past two decades or so, I have wandered through life basing a number of my conclusions about human behavior on a questionable
truism I read somewhere in my early twenties.  It suggests that most humans view other people's motivations through the lens of their own
personality.  Sounds pretty simple, and blatantly obvious, doesn't it?  But what the author was talking about has to do with assigning motivations
to other people's actions, and the limitations that each person's values and morals will place on the conclusions they are able to reach.  An
over-simplified and somewhat exaggerated example would be that someone who tells lies on a regular basis will normally assume that other
people are lying, and therefore won't believe a truthful person when they are being candid.  The liar will assume that he (or she) is being told a
lie because the other alternatives do not exist in their personal lexicon of behavior, and he will begin searching for some underlying reason why
the truthful person is attempting to deceive him.  The same goes for the reverse.  A person who always tells the truth as a matter of course will
repeatedly get caught by surprise when someone lies to them because their brain doesn't tend to head off in that direction initially.  

I think two things about this theory are obvious.  One, it is a massive oversimplification; and two, most of us have probably run into a situation
that can be explained by the phenomenon.  I have had several situations both at work and in my personal life where people simply would NOT
believe that I was doing or saying something for the reason I claimed.  The conversation (or argument) took on a surreal, almost nightmarish
quality where everything I said was twisted around, misinterpreted, and generally transformed into monstrously mutated form of what I was
attempting to say.  I believe that the degree of miscommunication depends on the empathy, humility, education, intelligence, and
open-mindedness of the individuals involved in the conversation or altercation.  If both individuals possess a basic level of awareness that their
way of going through life is not the only one, then they can probably put themselves in the other person's shoes long enough to achieve some
insight and understanding.  If either one of the parties is narrow-minded in any sense of the word, and for any reason at all, then a rather large
wall is going to be erected, and the conversation may take on that Dali-esque feel to it that I mentioned before.  

Just for the record, I feel like what I'm rambling on about here is at least partially self-evident ... but I'm headed somewhere with it.  

The November 2006 issue of National Geographic ran an article on
Reinhold Messner.  For those of you who do not want to chase down the link,
Messner is considered by some to be the greatest mountain climber of all time.  Among his accomplishments was a solo ascent of Mt. Everest
without any supplemental oxygen.  That's an incredible feat, and probably says a great deal about Messner's personality.  I can't imagine a
climber of his caliber not being incredibly driven, possibly to the point of being monomaniacal, especially during the actual climb.  This is not an
average human being with an every-day kind of personality.  If he were average, then making it to the summit of Mt. Everest without oxygen
wouldn't be a big deal because we would all be doing it.  Before I move on, allow me to also point out that Messner isn't American.  His family was
German, and he was born and raised in south Tyrol.  That isn't critical to the discussion beyond the fact that non-Americans should not be
expected to act like Americans any more than we should be expected to act like people from other countries or cultures.  For the most part, it just
ain't gonna happen.  It's an offshoot of that 'behavioral lexicon' issue.

But back to the point ... which assumes that there is one.  

This morning, while munching on some toast and drinking my coffee, I was reading the Letters section of the March 2007 issue of National
Geographic.  I came across this statement about Reinhold Messner sent in by a reader from Colorado:  
"I cannot recall ever reading about
anyone whose life reveals more self-indulgent uselessness.  Shame on NGM for devoting valuable space to this arrogant buffoon whose life has
been spent solely to please his personal whims."  

Arrogant buffoon.  Interesting choice of words.  Interesting conclusion on the part of Senor NGM-Reader.  

It is tempting to see how thoroughly I can shred Senor Reader's comments, but tearing them apart syllable by syllable isn't the point of this
morning's ill-directed diatribe.  I will go so far as to discuss the definition of the word "arrogant" for a moment. The English Oxford Dictionary
defines arrogant as:  "Making or implying unwarrantable claims to dignity, authority, or knowledge; aggressively conceited or haughty,
overbearing, presumptuous."  The word I tend to focus on is 'unwarrantable'.  If anyone has a right to a claim of being an extraordinary human
being, I would put Messner at the top of the list.  That does not, by any means, imply that a little humility on his part would not be welcomed by
the rest of the species; but if he is arrogant, I submit that he has earned it.  He claims that his achievements are the result of being more driven,
and learning to tolerate more pain than a majority of homo sapiens.  I have to wonder if he is a new offshoot of the species -- one that requires
less oxygen to survive.  

The whole reason behind all this typing, however, has very little to do with Messner, and everything to do with my instantaneous conclusion
about Senor NGM-Reader's personality.  If I were about to go in search of an arrogant buffoon, I'd head for the town listed beneath his name in
the Letters section of NGM.  We're back to that "you only see what you know" part of the boring psychology lecture.  There are a gazillion and
one ways to view anyone's life -- not just Reinhold Messner's.  I doubt that too many of the species, with the possible exception of Mother Teresa
and a few other exceptionally dedicated philanthropists, can claim that they haven't committed some form of self-indulgent uselessness.  It's
human nature to be self-indulgent and useless.  That's why god created couches and television remote controls!!  To look at anyone's life as
interpreted by someone else -- be it Messner's life as depicted in NGM or Paris Hilton's life as presented in any form of the media any day of the
week or the lives of any of a hundred highly visible celebrities or ordinary humans that merit media coverage in any form -- and conclude from
afar that they deserve to be called names, strikes me as the action of an arrogant buffoon.  

So what am I suggesting?  Nothin'.  This is called the Mushroom Patch, after all ... not the Brain Trust.  

I got up on my soapbox this morning because the phrase arrogant buffoon struck a nerve.  I was once called a pompous twit by someone who I
thought was wallowing in some undeserved self-importance, and who tended to lay out arguments in what I considered illogical directions (which
could or could not be the definition of a twit, depending on your viewpoint).  I also ran into a problem at work a few years back because I was
foolish enough to get into a shouting match with an individual who cannot even view the world objectively and clearly, let alone pick out the "truth"
in a situation.  I would refer to him as a pathological liar, except he probably is telling the truth ... as he sees it.  We got into an argument, and I
eventually blew my stack because no matter what I said, he refused to believe that I did not have some uncomplimentary ulterior motive for my
actions.  I was either lazy, lacked a conscience, was attempting to jerk him around, was playing games with the airplanes, or I was partaking of
any one of a dozen or so other unflattering explanations for what I had done.  The one thing he would not consider was that I had said and had
done what I did for exactly the reason I claimed.  It took me a very long time to realize that he was NOT accusing me of lying.  His entire life is so
thoroughly entrenched in hidden agendas, promoting his personal agenda without regard for how it affects other people, deceit, misleading
people, and outright lying, that he simply cannot conceive of anyone conducting themselves any other way.  It lies outside his understanding.  
Telling the truth for the sake of telling the truth resides inside a blind spot that he cannot ever hope to view.  

I am not venting about this situation, although I'm sure it may come across that way at times.  It is closer to fascination -- to putting it under a
microscope and dissecting the causes and outcomes.  Do I have my own blind spots?  Well ... YAH!!!  Of course.  But the one blind spot that I
hope I do not possess is the one that would prevent me from realizing that I've got blind spots.  I often need a swift kick in the butt from a friend to
realize that I'm not seeing a situation the way someone else views it, but I have a number of people in my life that are more than happy to provide
that service.  I'm thankful for that.  Keep it up.  
Mushroom Patch -- Page 6
February 13, 2007 thru March 13, 2007
8 March 2007 -- Missing Farscape

I've had some Farscape music videos playing while I do a little bit of housework today.  I love watching these, and yet it never fails to set off an
ache inside.  I miss the excitement.  I watch the clips and images, and I miss waiting to be challenged.  I miss knowing that each time I watched a
new ep, that I was going to have my brain sucked out, frelled with, and then put back into my skull forever altered.  I miss the visual richness, and
the complexities the creators scattered across the screen 22 times each year.  

And I wouldn't trade the ache for anything in the world.  It was one hell of a ride while it lasted, and my life is better for having taken the plunge.  
Farscape unlocked a portion of my brain, expanded my horizons, introduced me to new ways of thinking and new people, and enticed me into
doing things I never would have tried if left to my own, sometimes mundane aspirations.