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The Amusing Skies…

Nov 7

In Rambling at 10:53am

Onboard a Delta jet, bound for Partnercon in San Diego on behalf of my buds at Adorama. Should be a lot of fun, though I am usually responsible for bringing bad weather to that perennially balmy city. I think they had five overcast days last year, and I was there for all of them.

I fly a lot. And there’s been some doozies this year, for sure. I was recently on a flight that was really, pretty much, Darwin’s waiting room with wings. We were in a plane stuffed to the rafters, all of us, including me, feeling a day late and a dollar short.

It’s always entertaining (if you have a  broad definition of entertainment) to be right next to the bathrooms on long flights. I try to use the loo right away, before it’s gets to looking and smelling like a recently flooded basement. Then, being an inveterate people watcher, I just settle in and regard the traffic.

On a recent flight, a lady came up and stood in front of me—right in front of me—waiting her turn. Now she had a posterior that should have been ticketed all on its’ own, in my opinion. Lordie, this was a work of art, years in the making. Broad, expansive and undulating, it was a bit like the Great Plains (which we were at that moment flying over) stuffed into a pair of sturdy jeans.

The way this particular plane was configured, I was in the emergency exit aisle seat, with no seats in front of me, just the wall to the bathroom. In deference to aisle traffic, she understandably kind of squeezed in towards my seat, to let people pass by. I all of a sudden found myself in close orbit with a very large moon. My eyes grew wide. My beloved wife Annie, sitting across the aisle, looked at me with concern, knowing I have tendency to be improvisational, being a photographer.

Then—she started to exercise. Yep. Right there in front of me. One legged knee bends, stretches, waist bends, all done in a fairly slow rhythmic fashion. It was hypnotic, really, sort of like watching a very large pendulum. Up, down, right, left. My face started to follow it. Up, down, right, left.

At this point, Annie’s left eyebrow, which I have described in the past as being attached to a steam driven catapult, is fairly dancing off the bottoms of the overhead bins, and her expression has gone from mild consternation to outright alarm. Her eyes were alive with messages, the unspoken language of marriage, and she reached across with an US magazine featuring Kim somebody or other in an effort to divert her nut job of a mate from doing something irretrievably stupid, just for the sheer giggle of it.

Thankfully, the bathroom vacated and the lady in question disappeared within. I was thankful at that moment I don’t have x-ray vision.

It was great theater, though, and it wasn’t over. A bit later, a lady with enormous, spiked high heels went to use the facilities, and she came out with, oh, about 15 or so inches of toilet paper attached to one of those heels. Oblivious, she trooped up the aisle, with this totem of her recent activities trailing behind her, a bit like the string of cans attached to the rear bumper of the newlywed’s car.

Seems all of my seatmates of late have been sort of large and grumpy as well, which hasn’t been fun. One gentleman, who should have purchased about 30% of my seat, pulled out his Ipad and began to play high speed poker right away when we hit 10,000 feet. He held it in his left hand, and furiously punched and pulled cards with his right index finger. Unfortunately, his right elbow was also connected to that index finger.

Now, I enjoy a massage as much as the next person, but having my ribs tattooed by somebody’s poker playing elbow doesn’t classify as pleasurable. I shifted as far as I could to the right of my seat, but after a couple hours of this I finally took my laptop, put it on my knees and raised my tray table upright in the defensive position, forming a wall between his seat and mine.

Being both male, it got real mature, real fast. We kept eyeballing each other over my impromptu castle battlement like a pair of five year olds having a turf war in the playground. I swear if I had some of my old plastic soldiers I would have lined them up on the armrest and started making machine gun noises.

It’s been a little nutty up there lately. More tk…

61 Responses to “The Amusing Skies…”

Billie Muller says:

on November 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

I sense another book coming on!:) great piece!

Linnea says:

on November 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm


Derryl says:

on November 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm

How did you light that self portrait? lol.
Great read!

Bob says:

on November 10, 2011 at 10:07 am

Joe – great post…now makes me wonder if it is the journey, rather than the destination.

Chris says:

on November 11, 2011 at 6:30 am

So funny. I invariably seem to get “the recliner” in front of me, who has to fully recline the seat for the entire duration of the flight, even if it’s a day flight

Woody says:

on November 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm

You know those spikes they use to keep pigeons from landing? Attach them to a velcro strip and…well, I’m sure you get the picture. The competitive edge!
As far as the ladies go…where’s the pics to prove it??

Mark says:

on November 12, 2011 at 10:35 am

I nominate Joe to take Andy Rooney’s spot on 60 minutes!

Doru Oprisan says:

on November 13, 2011 at 10:34 am

Hi, Joe!
Just a quick, unrelated question, if you could spare a minute:
Do you use the D-lighting feature on your Nikon cameras when shooting RAW ?

Right now I am a bit frustrated because I have a few thousand NEF files which are only seen correctly in CaptureNX. Lightroom or Adobe will give me an underexposed image to start with, because they cannot read the D-lighting information in the file, and that makes it hard to select and edit thousands of photos, as nothing looks like it did on camera.

I’ve tried to use Capture NX2 to convert the files into TIFFs, and then use them in Lightroom (I really cannot get used to CaptureNX), but the uncompressed file is 72Mb in size and the compressed (!) is 90Mb. Yes, the compressed one is larger :) Even more bizarre is that doing the same conversion with ViewNx2 gives you a compressed file of about 40Mb. But the program stops responding a few minutes into the batch conversion. Any friends from Nikon care to explain this rather strange behaviour ?

Many thanks!
Doru, long time reader of the blog and your two flash-related books. :)

Doru Oprisan says:

on November 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

Lightroom or *Aperture. Sorry.

Patrik Lindgren says:

on November 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I always enjoy your stories and the way you put them together. You should do more books. ;)

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