Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jetsetter Ace

(Disclaimer: I just re-read the top part of yesterday's post, and before you read this one, I want to make something clear. And I want to make it clear in the parlance of the Sugar Hill Gang: I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast, but I like hot butter on my breakfast toast. I just has a passion for documenting and telling stories.)

Back when I worked at a small hedge fund in 2002-03, my boss used to tell me how much we wanted his own jet. I never understood it. I never quite comprehended why anyone would want to pluck down all that cash for a little added convenience.

After yesterday, though, I'm fully on board with this luxury. You know that Seinfeld episode where Jerry takes the first-class seat because he's "flown first class, Elaine -- I can't go back to coach. I can't. I won't!"? At this point, I'm not sure I can ever go back to flying commercial again. Commercial's for suckas, and suckas ain't shit.

I pulled up to the private hangar at about 1:15 pm for the day-trip to Raleigh. My boss joined me about 10 minutes later, and the two of us ambled onto the runway and into the Hawker right away. Just 15 minutes after I arrived at the airport, the plane started to take off. Normally it takes that long just to get from the security checkpoint to the terminal gate. And because the eight-seater is small enough to see into the cockpit, I watched the pilot and co-pilot as we ascended, noting the coolness of this experience.

Immediately, we lit up cigarettes -- a breath of fresh air. I've never smoked on an airplane before, and I may never again. But there ain't nuthin' like it. That's freedom at its finest, baby, that's why the terrorists hate us. If we don't smoke on airplanes, the terrorists win. I kicked back with the New York Post, adjusting my seat not only by reclining, but I moved it sideways as well. Sideways, people.

We landed in Raleigh-Durham after what seemed like a half-hour ride. When you're cruising in a living room in the sky, it just seems quicker (it's like road tripping in an RV, only with wings and an absence packed bongs). De-planing was pretty difficult, too: We walked out the plane. Then we walked 10 feet into the terminal. Then we got in the Ford Five-Hundred waiting to pick us up. Tough life.

North Carolina itself treated me just fine. The people are incredibly hospitable -- I got invited to come back down for some white-water rafting and some noodling. Noodling, by the way, entails standing in the river and catching catfish with your bare hands. Right up my alley. I had to explain to these people I was a sheltered, frail Lawn Gisland Boy, but I did tell them the invitations sounded promising.

I also got a private, albeit abbreviated tour of the Civil War exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History, where our little event took place. What an absolutely amazing, and most surprising, part of the trip. They've got some great stuff in there, some old artillery, uniforms, letters, the whole deal. They even have the LeMat revolver that inspired one of the stories in Cold Mountain (not sure who, I never saw it). I even came away from that walk-through with some awesome names for future literary characters, like Basil C. Manly and John Quincy Adams Bryan.

But easily the coolest part of the trip for me: I got to witness a bomb-sniffing dog work his magic. The event involved basically the entire state legislature of North Carolina, so there was a nice police presence there. The dog came through and jumped around, but didn't find anything. Good stuff. It's pretty funny that I spent most of the day hobknobbing, joke-telling and trading economy-related statistics and stories with a big-time CEO, two of the most powerful people in that state's political system and some heavy-hitting Government Affairs lawyers, and still, my favorite part was watching a dog run around an empty auditorium and occasionally lick his balls.

The event ended and we headed back to the airport. We arrived at the General Aviation terminal at 8:35 and were in the air about 12 minutes later. Again, tough life. On the way home, I broke the plane. I tried to pull out the tray to eat my catered dinner, byt I ripped the whole compartment out instead. "Bill me," I told my host. "I will," he responded.

At one point, when the day was holding onto its last few minutes of sunshine, I walked up to the cockpit and hung out behind the pilots. They gave me a quick tutorial on the mechanics of the aircraft, the air-traffic control system, anything I threw out they had an answer for. And then I realized something as I was staring out of the windshield into the bright blue heavens: I don't even drive a car anymore, and I rarely have an unobstructed view of the road when someone's driving me. Here I am, 30,000 feet in the sky, staring out the windshield into this great blue sky. Can life get any better?

I can't go back. I won't. (I will).

Slack Song of the Day: I may have posted this one before, but I really think it's one of the better songs on the planet. Hoobs put the Live Art version on a freshman year Redrum mix and we must have listened to it about 10,000 times in college. Plus, I randomly chose this one from and it might be the best version I've ever heard.

So check it, check it...Bela Fleck and the Flecktones with Stomping Grounds, from Septemeber 19th, 1997 in Brandywine, Maryland.

Slack Video of the Day: The ECW One Night Stand Pay-Per-View that Snacks and I attended in early June has just been released on DVD. I mean, that's a must grab. Poophop, you're buying this. Here's a quick trailer for you fine folks, even though none of the footage from that night is on this trailer. Make sure you have some volume, so you can hear Joey Styles yell, "Oh My Gawd."

Speed choices: 56 or 300 (no idea what this means)

Slack Story of the Day: A little late, but check out's NBA Draft Night coverage, it's good stuff. The NBA sucks big time and you have to admit the draft was boring as shit, but this is a great read, as always with this slacker-reporter.


At 1:50 PM, Blogger poophopanonymous22 said...

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!! where is this dvd being sold??? can i get it from the asian lady whow walks thru the N/R/Q/W trains???

gigity gigity gigity

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

The IT guy in my office just grabbed the DVD and has commandeered a conference room where he is showing it on a projector. I can hear it from the other side of my office. As soon as I can get my clients to stop sucking I am pulling up a chair in that room, then smashing it over someone's back.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Matty, if you can, make the guy show you the Mike Awesome/Masato Tanaka of the cooler matches in ECW history. Also, the Tommy Dreamer powerbomb through the flaming table was money.

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous John Howard said...

Were you on the Ted Danson plane?


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