Friday, December 14, 2012

Where I've Been On The Internet Today

Took part in Carolyn Hax's online chat this afternoon. Someone posted, "...I pride myself on being a person that doesn't get emotional and can logically work through any problems that life throws at me. But I have no idea how to get through my current situation. My Dad is dealing with serious health issues that his doctors haven't been able to diagnose yet (but they have mentioned ALS as a possibility), my Mom (divorced from my Dad) is bipolar and suffering from major anxiety to the point she can't travel for the holidays and my Grandmother is currently recovering from cancer surgery. I have no idea how to help my family members deal with their health problems and I'm scared of how helpless I feel. Any recommendations for support groups or advice to help me get through things one day at a time?..."

I posted a response that actually got used towards the end. "Hopefully it doesn't come to this, but if Dad does have ALS, the daughter should contact a local hospice in her area and ask if she can be a part of their grief counseling sessions. They might be able to help her, and it would include a local clergy member and a social worker..."

I get so busy and involved with some of our own hospice patients that sometimes I forget there are support groups out there for so many different illnesses, which it was a good thing Carolyn pointed it out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We Need More NEW Superhero Movies

The newest trailer for Superman: The Man of Steel is out.



In a way, it reminds me of The Amazing Spider-Man trailer. They both seem a little dark and bleak, in a way.



Despite my great, almost life-long love for Spidey, I had no desire to see that latest movie. The same goes for Superman next year. I think it's because they are both origin films AGAIN. Plus, I will admit that Tobey Maguire and Brandon Routh are both cemented in my head and heart as the modern Spidey and Supes, but I understand the concept that superheroes are like James Bond: they need to be updated for each era.

But mostly, I don't need another origin movie for those characters. I know there are movie-goers that would see these trailers and be interested in them because they have no knowledge of the characters and don't know their stories, but Tobey's Spider-Man movies came out in 2002, 2004 and 2007. Christopher Reeve's Superman movies came out in 1978, 1980, 1983, and 1987. Brandon's turn with the cape was in 2006. And don't forget, there are comic books, cartoons and even series for these characters. There is a LOT of origin information out there.

If Andrew Garfield and Henry Cavill could have gotten these roles, but with continuing storylines from the previous movies, then I think I would be more interested. Spidey could still fight the Lizard and Captain Stacy could probably still die, but let him have more to do than rehash high school and his transformation into a hero AGAIN. Superman could do battle with General Zod, having broken out of the Phantom Zone, save Lois and all the inhabitants of Earth, and we don't have to rewatch Jor-El and his wife send baby Kal-El away on a spaceship to Earth, the destruction of Krypton, or his first time meeting Lois and Perry White.

By the way, is this version of General Zod going to remind us of Loki from the Thor and Avengers movies? And how kick ass is it that Laurence Fishburne is going to be Perry White??? I love Laurence Fishburne; he's one of my favorite actors.

Don't get me wrong: some revamped movies are awesomely done, in my opinion: Rod Zombie's Halloween movies and JJ Abrams' Star Trek come to mind, because even though each filmmaker changed the continuity of the subject matter, they each expanded on it so much, making the characters more than what they were before. But three words: Han shot first. You can't go back and change a plot line after the fact, just because you didn't like it.

But why are certain characters so hot for origins right now? Why does Hollywood keep releasing the same movies, over and over? You just know that in a couple years, there will be a revamped Batman trilogy, starring someone besides Joseph Gordon Levitt. For the record, I haven't seen the last Batman movie. The first two of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies bored me to tears. No real chemistry, no real emotions, they are all just so flat, much like Kate Bosworth as Lois in Superman Returns.

I'd like to see a Wonder Woman movie. Hell, even Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds wasn't that bad, and I don't even like RR or know squat about GL, but I still enjoyed it as a film. The Flash has lots of fans. The X-Men movies have all done pretty well. How about a Spider-Woman movie, for God's sake? Give us origin movies on new and different characters, or give us one shot graphic novels as movies, like The Watchmen. I know there won't be another Watchmen movie, and I'm fine with that, because that one film was pretty much all I needed in a superhero film that came from a graphic novel I've never read.

Moviegoers who are fans of certain genres are all armchair quarterbacks, myself included. We are fickle and angry and we could always do it better than the filmmakers could.

--For me, I wouldn't have started Daniel Craig's run as James Bond with having Judi Dench as his "M." I would have gone straight to Ralph Fiennes. Having Judi Dench as his M was a little weird, because it felt like a hold over from Pierce Bronson's days as Bond.
--It would be fun if there could be one Bond girl that James was trying so hard to snag and he just doesn't win her over.
--Kate Bosworth wouldn't have EVER been Lois Lane. I probably would have gone with Amy Adams immediately. Dye her hair brown and get her started! And Kate's take on Lois? Too much of a bitch.
--For Man of Steel, I would have Clark Kent try to move on from being "dumped" by Lois and introduce Lana Lang as his love interest. That would create a little bit of jealousy on Lois's behalf: Clark wants the small town girl over the big city reporter? WTH?
--For the original Spider-Man trilogy, swap out Mary Jane Watson for Gwen Stacy. Minor changes and it still would have worked. Instead of being a struggling actress, she'd be an overworked college student.
--Denzel Washington as GL John Stewart in a sequel.
--As much as I don't like Christian Bale, I think he might make a decent James Bond (because of one scene in one of the Batman movies he did, where he's stashing people throughout his apartment, he comes out with a weapon and it reminds me so much of Pierce Brosnan in "Goldeneye.") But I'd also like to see Clive Owen (because he reminds me of George Lazenby in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service) or Michael Fassbender as Bond (because of the bar fight scene in "X-Men: First Class").
--Each actor/actress gets to be only ONE superhero. No more dual characters (Chris Evans, Ryan Reynolds, Halle Berry).
--Halle Berry would have kept the African accent when she was Storm, but then again, I wouldn't have cast her as Storm. Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox, Vanessa Williams or Iman would have been better choices. For God's sake, RUPAUL would have been a better Storm!

It would be nice if Hollywood would listen to some of us, sometimes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why Delta Airlines Sucks

Until my last trip back home, I never had an opinion on which airlines(s) I liked or disliked. That has changed...I now have an opinion. I don't like Delta and I won't be flying with them ever again.

Just because I'm feeling snarky, here's the text from an email I sent to Delta Airlines' Customer Service department (ContactUs.Delta@delta.com, if anyone ever needs it) last night.
--------------------
Good evening. I'm writing with a complaint about our recent Delta flights (Flight Confirmation Number removed), as listed below. Please note, these are the original flights that we BOOKED, not the flights we actually flew.

--DECEMBER 1, 2012
-Flight 1233 out of Norfolk, VA, Depart 12:10 PM , Arrive 2:02 PM (ATL)
-Flight 5068, Depart 3:10 PM, Arrive 4:22 PM (CID)

--DECEMBER 8, 2012
-Flight 4144 out of Cedar Rapids, IA, Depart 10:15 AM, Arrive 12:57 AM (DTW)
-Flight 116, Depart 1:35 PM, Arrive 3:39 PM (ATL)
-Flight 1012, Depart 4:35 PM, Arrive 6:19 PM (ORF)

On 12/01/12, our flight from Norfolk, VA was delayed for 50 minutes because of an electrical issue with the first class bathroom. (The bathroom light wouldn't turn off.) That delay in departure made us miss our flight from Atlanta to Cedar Rapids. Priceline was able to automatically re-route us from Atlanta to Chicago to Cedar Rapids. Somehow, our one checked bag didn't actually leave Atlanta with us, and arrived the next day when we were in Waterloo. To ensure that we actually got it, my husband drove 120 miles, round trip, back to Cedar Rapids because there wasn't anyone available in Marion, IA to have it delivered to. We also had to go shopping for some essentials to tide us over.

On 12/08/12, again, we were delayed in our departure from Cedar Rapids because of de-icing and washing of the plane. The plane was there at the gate, two hours before the scheduled take off time, but no one bothered to de-ice it before then. The crew waited until the time the plane was scheduled to take off. Again, we were 50 minutes late in taking off from Cedar Rapids, which made us miss another flight in Detroit. Again, Priceline was able to reroute us, with an 8 hour layover in Detroit to take us straight to Norfolk., At this point in our trip, we had two checked bags. The larger of the two actually arrived in Norfolk BEFORE we did, and we had to find someone in the Delta baggage office to release the bag to us. The smaller bag was delivered to our home in Norfolk today.

The numbers from our baggage tag were:
[removed]

Almost no part of our trip went according to what we scheduled, because of time management and baggage issues on Delta's behalf. For what it's worth, we spent about $50 to replace items that we needed from our first lost piece of luggage from 12/01/12. I want the three checked baggage fees that we paid ($75) reimbursed to us. We paid by credit card on Priceline's website.

What is Delta going to do about this? 
--------------------
I really thought this was going to be a cut and dried thing to resolve.

I actually got a response back today.
--------------------

Thank you for writing about your recent flight experience.  On behalf of Delta Air Lines and our Delta Connection carrier, Pinnacle Airlines, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you experienced due to the irregular operation of our flight, rebooking option received and for your delayed baggage.

I understand the frustration you experienced when your plans were disrupted due to the delay of our flights for mechanical reasons.  I am truly sorry your travel was adversely affected.  It is concerning to know that both your outbound as well as return flights were irregular in their operation.  Further, I realize the inconvenience you were caused with your baggage.  Like you, we certainly wish that instances of mishandled bags never occurred.  I can only imagine your disappointment when your bags were delivered the next day and you had to buy essential items.  However, I need to decline your refund request. I apologize as I understand that this was not the answer you were anticipating.

Also, I realize your disappointment with the alternate arrangements provided during our flight irregularity.  Be assured our goal is to route our passengers to their destination in a timely manner and with the least disruption possible.  Your comments regarding the handling of your disrupted travel have received close attention. 

Therefore, as a gesture of apology for the flight delay, I have issued two Electronic Transportation Credit Vouchers (eTCVs) in the amount of $75.00 each.   Please note the voucher numbers and associated Terms and Conditions will be arriving in a separate email within 24 hours.  I encourage you to add Delta Air Lines to your receiver list so the voucher documents are not misdirected to your spam folder.  Please keep the voucher numbers and the Terms and Conditions since the numbers are required for redemption.  It is also important to mention that there is no Direct Ticketing fee for reservations confirmed online at delta.com.

Ms. Kelly, I thank you for the opportunity to address the inconvenience you experienced due to the delay of our flights.  As a valued Delta customer, your future business is important to us, and I hope you will continue to choose Delta for your air travel needs.

Sincerely,
Sylvia M. Thomas
Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care
Delta Air Lines
--------------------
Vouchers for future flights? I don't think so. I emailed Sylvia back and told her I didn't want $150 worth of vouchers for future flights. I wanted $75 credited back to me because of their fuck ups and that I won't be flying with Delta again. (I had flown on Delta in May to get back to Iowa when Shane's mom passed without any problems and on stand by. The way home was a whole other story and I tried for 1 1/2 days to get on a Delta flight. I finally had to buy a one way ticket on United to get back here.)
--------------------
Thank you for expressing your concern regarding the Transportation Credit Voucher issued to you. On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I appreciate the opportunity to review your request.

I am truly sorry you were dissatisfied with the Electronic Transportation Credit Voucher (eTCV) provided.  The gesture extended was not meant to place a value on your experience; rather it was an attempt to make amends for your disappointment with our service.  I once again apologize for your delayed baggage and the difficulties you encountered.

Respectfully, additional consideration and the refund of the baggage fee would not be due.  I apologize, as I understand this is not the answer you were hoping to receive.

Ms. Kelly, I know your request differed from what I have provided and trust you will understand our position.  Your business is important to us and given the opportunity of serving you in the future, I am confident Delta will not only meet but exceed your expectations.

Sincerely,
Sylvia M. Thomas
Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care
Delta Air Lines

--------------------
Seriously, that last sentence makes me want to retch. "Your business is important to us and given the opportunity of serving you in the future, I am confident Delta will not only meet but exceed your expectations." Please. Hell, I've flown to Honduras and to Vietnam, and I never lost any freaking luggage on either of those trips. But I fly from Virginia to Iowa and bags get lost both ways.

I actually had a flight attendant get nasty with me at one point when I used the bathroom on the plane while people were boarding. The bathroom hadn't been closed and we were sitting in the back of the plane anyway.

From now on, my husband and I decided we are going to split our packing: half of my things go into his bag and vice versa. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Tunnel at the Detroit Airport



This is not my video, but rather one I borrowed from YouTube. This is the tunnel at the Detroit Airport. It connects Concourse A with Concourse B/C in the McNamara Terminal. Light patterns along the tunnel are choreographed with music.

"The B and C concourses are connected to the main terminal building and the A Concourse by a pedestrian walkway under the Airport ramp. This walkway, known as the Light Tunnel, features an elaborate multi-colored light show behind sculpted glass panels extending the entire length of the walkway, as well several moving walkways. The light patterns are synchronized with an original musical score composed by Victor Alexeeff, which runs for nearly a half hour before repeating. This installation, one of the first large-scale uses of color changing LED lighting in the United States, was produced by Mills James Productions with glasswork by Foxfire Glass Works of Pontiac, Michigan. The display won multiple lighting design awards including the prestigious Guth Award of Merit. For passengers who are prone to medical conditions such as seizures, there are buttons at each end of the tunnel that will suspend the light show for five minutes so they can pass through with no adverse effects."

I really think this is not supposed to be relaxing or invigorating, depending on the travelers' moods, just for the sake of relaxation. Don't get me wrong: it's pretty cool to watch and listen to, but I walked through this damn thing so many times yesterday on our way back to Virginia, I think it's a way to either:
--exhaust the travelers so they are subdued and well-behaved on the planes (Detroit has a HUGE freakin' airport) or
--it relaxes the irritated and angry travelers that have been screwed over by the airlines for any number of reasons, so they are subdued and well-behaved when they FINALLY get to make their flights.