Here’s to a good one!

I’m just about to head out the door to work, but I wanted to take a few minutes to post a blog since I may not be able to post again until next Tuesday.  Jean and I will be leaving for Vegas this afternoon and not coming back home until Labor Day.  My dad will be staying at home while Charlie and Tank stay at a hotel called Le Kennel (or at least that’s what we call the chain link runs in the back of their vet’s office).

I’m really hopeful that this will be a great day and lead into a wonderful weekend.  My “luck” started to change yesterday with the ticketing for my RTW trip, and now I’m thinking that may extend to the projects I need to finish up at work, my NCAA parlay/teaser tickets all weekend, Jean’s bouts with the slot machines, the SEC in general, and a whole host of other things.

Random fact: I want to go see Stomp Out Loud again…  I loved that show and seeing a white guy with that much rhythm is inspiring.  🙂  Jean and the dogs are all sound asleep in the bed, so I’m about to give some kisses and hit the door.  I hope all our friends and family have a superb weekend!

In a battle of wills, I won

After being put to a test of patience and will by Delta for the past 16 days, I have prevailed!  I don’t want to get into all the gritty details, but it wasn’t easy.  I kinda saw the light this morning when I checked my email account and had an e-ticket for all but the final leg of my trip.  After a call to Delta, and some argument, I was told I could go to the airport and be fully ticketed.  Next I headed to the airport and after about 3 hours there, and plenty more arguing, I left with a smile from ear to ear – I had all 16 segments of my round-the-world award ticket printed and in my hand, for just over $520 in taxes and fees (not including the $100s spent on transferring skymiles).

Delta didn’t make it easy, but I let out a huge sigh of relief today.  The next big step will be in February/March of next year, about 6 months from now, when I have to call Delta back and try to update the dates on the ticket for a $100 change order fee.  I can’t even describe how happy I was to finally have this ticketed though.  This has been a trying week – screwed by Delta, tons of things to accomplish at work, a new dryer that is doing its best to burn down our house while the old washing machine does its best to flood us, plus about 10 other things to distract and annoy me.  I’m able to see some light at the end of the tunnel now…  I made significant progress on one of my projects at work in the past 3-4 days, I have my RTW ticket, I’m heading to Vegas for 3 nights of college football and fun tomorrow afternoon, and a few other loose ends are coming together too.

I’ve gotta go now though because the first SEC game of the college football season just started – University of South Carolina vs NC State.  I hate Spurrier, but I love the SEC and hope they dominate (unless it’s UT or Auburn).

Delta lies

Delta has surpassed their terrible customer service standards by lying to me…  It has now been over two weeks since I called to setup my award ticket, and I’m still ticketless.  Delta has continuously told me to “call back tomorrow and hopefully the problem will be fixed”.  I have asked them on 10 different days when they’ll have it fixed and they can never give me an answer, and when I tell them I’m concerned I’ll lose the flights I setup, which were all confirmed, they tell me not to worry because they’ve extended my hold.

Last Friday “Suzy” from Delta called me and took my credit card information and said I’d be ticketed on Monday because they’d figured out a way to do it.  I called Monday and the guy that answered said he didn’t know what was going on, but for me to wait until they called me because the notes on my account showed that they’d be ticketing it.  I waited for two days, and when I called today I was told that the taxes and fees that were calculated last week have been erased and that unfortunately I’m on a wait list for some of the flights that I was confirmed on before.  The lady said over and over “I can’t believe this!  I’m not sure why it has taken so long.  This is strange…”  I told her it has been people in her department that continue to blow me off and that I too can’t believe it, and I really can’t believe that basically my ticket has now been canceled.  In true Delta form, she told me that she’d have Suzy call me tomorrow morning and that she couldn’t do anything to help me tonight.

If you have a choice, DO NOT FLY DELTA.  Their customer service is pathetic and is only getting worse.  They obviously don’t care about loyalty.  I’m going to be very surprised at this point if they live up to their word and make good on the award that they were supposed to give me half a month ago.  I’d fly Southwest exclusively if they flew internationally…

Back to Sin City

It is now final, we’re heading back to Vegas for the holiday weekend…  I made hotel reservations today and we’ll be leaving Friday after work and coming home on Monday.  I haven’t heard from my dad all day, so I’m still not sure if it’ll just be Jean and I or all three of us.  Jean is already thinking about that damn Soprano’s slot machine down at the Sahara and I’m focused on a weekend of college football.

Work went well today, but I skipped my morning walk again in order to get to my office earlier since I have lots of stuff to work on right now.  I’m still hopeful that I’ll have two projects completely wrapped up by Friday.  Jean is doing awesome at work, and she’s making lots of big sales lately.  Go Jean!

I have a ton of news articles I’d like to post, but I just don’t ever feel like editing them.  I also need to hook up the new vent to the new dryer tonight, but I keep putting it off for another hour.  Charlie and Tank aren’t looking forward to staying in the kennel this weekend because they hate how the people there stick them outside during the day even though they always promise to keep them inside.  Inside dogs hate being outside when it’s 95F, especially Charlie.

I hope everyone reading this will make the effort to watch the Tide roll over Clemson this weekend.  Unfortunately I live in PAC-10 country, so ABC will be showing unranked Michigan State at unranked Cal instead of #24 Alabama meeting #9 Clemson in Atlanta, even though ESPN College Gameday will be at the Bama game!  I’m not a big fan of Gameday showing up for Bama games though because Corso seems to curse the Tide – they haven’t ever won when Gameday was there…  Hopefully Virginia will pull off a big upset and knock off USC, and I’d love it if Kentucky stomps Louisville on Sunday.  The only other game I’m really interested in this weekend will be Tennessee-UCLA, go Bruins!

Maybe I’ll get lucky on a few parlays this weekend, but as they say, luck has a peculiar habit of favoring those who don’t depend on it, so I’m probably screwed.

Exhaustion prevails

I woke up on time this morning and managed to get to the track on time, but Jim wasn’t so lucky.  I called him after waiting for about 5 minutes and when his phone went straight to voice mail I just headed on into work because I didn’t want to take a chance of having to fend off a wild dog or a fox.  🙂  I was in my office and working on different things by 5:15am this morning, and I was breezing right through items on my “to do” list, thanks to a monster.  I love those monsters because the canned sugar/caffeine gets me jumpin’, kinda like a pot of coffee would.

Work went well today and my workload increased again when my boss gave me another project.  I’m happy that a lot of work is coming my way lately – 3 projects assigned to me in the past 2 weeks.  I’m also just about done with another two projects that I’ve been working on: having a pulpit built around an operator station at the exit end of the Pickle Line and a website that automatically generates the morning reports for the 5-Stand, Pickle Line and both Galvanizing Lines.

On my way home from work I stopped by Home Depot because I needed to pick up a few things…  The overhead light in the entryway to our condo needed some replacement bulbs and I needed to buy a new exhaust vent tube for our new dryer.  Our new dryer seems to be a bigger fire hazard than the last one.  The barrel that rotates in the dryer wasn’t centered correctly on the one we just got rid of, so clothes would get hung up and burnt.  The new one smelled like it was on fire the other night when I went into the garage, and when I touched the top of it I burnt my hand – it was probably 150-160F!  I couldn’t believe how hot that thing was…  I mentioned it to my dad and when he did a load on Sunday morning, he told me to come out to the garage and feel how hot it had gotten on a low heat setting, and once again it was 150-160F.  I checked the exhaust tube that’s connected to the back and it has like 2-3 bends in it, but it isn’t pinched or anything and when I had asked the guy who installed it if it was OK he told me ‘yea’.  Well, I decided to read the instructions and it says not to use a foil-type vent and also to make sure no 90 degree bends are in it – our’s has a 180 and another 90 turn in it before going outside.

Anyhow, I finally got home and sat down and talked to Jean for a little while before she took off for work, then I hit the sack because I was so exhausted.  I’m a monster junkie and instead of chasing the dragon by heading back to 7-Eleven and getting another fix, I decided to except my energy-low and sleep off the cravings.  The next thing I know, I wake up around 10:30pm to my cell phone ringing.  Jean was calling to let me know she was on her way home.  I didn’t see my dad at all today because he was asleep by the time I woke back up.  Maybe I’ll see him tomorrow because I want to find out if he’s up for a little trip this weekend since Jean and I have a 3-day weekend with Labor Day.  We’re thinking about spending the weekend in Santa Barbara or Vegas.  More on that tomorrow…

Breakfast mayhem

As usual, today hasn’t gone off like I thought it would the day before.  I slept in until about 8:30am and I’ve only managed to take a shower and then make my way downstairs to take the dogs outside and play on the internet.  My dad has been even less productive because he’s only managed to make three glasses of tea in the microwave, complain about having to go anywhere today and he has spent about 2 hours continuing to destroy his laptop and blame me for not bailing him out.  Jean has been somewhat productive though; she woke up about an hour after me, but she’s been to the grocery store to pick up stuff to make omelettes for breakfast and our lunch meat for the week.

I told Jean I’ll be in charge of buying some new skillets because the ones we use are a hodge-podge of old ones we’ve accumulated over the years, but she’s insisting on an omelette maker.  I told her new skillets would be better because she could use them to make all kinds of stuff, but she’s a big fan of the “maker” thingamabobs – we have a sandwich maker, a waffle maker, pancake makers, and sorts of other makers that I don’t even know what they make…

I just took about a 30 minute break from writing this blog entry because Jean’s first attempt at an omelette wasn’t successful.  She was getting upset and I had to go in there and finish up what turned out to be a big scrambled egg, and then I made an omelette for my dad to show her the basic physics behind the omelette.  Her mistake with the first attempt was what made my scrambled eggs so awesome – she used WAY TOO MUCH stuff in the middle of the eggs and not enough oil, so it turned out that she couldn’t pry the one side of the omelette up and over the mound of filling.  She put onions, portabello mushrooms, sharp cheddar cheese and sausage in there and it was incredible.  My dad managed to make his way into the kitchen during this free-for-all and both of the dogs were barking, so it was probably the low point of the weekend with all the chaos and everything all at once in a small 8ft x 4ft room.

Anyhow, now that breakfast is done an it’s twenty past noon I think I’m about ready to head down to the OC and see those damned terra cotta warriors and my dad’s school.  Jean ran out of time to clean out the garage, so I don’t know how much progress we’ll make with moving stuff to storage and then taking stuff from my dad’s bedroom down to the garage.  Maybe tomorrow.

Wanting this annoying weekend to end,

Matt

A down day

We have been doing so much over the recent weekends that we decided to take it easy this weekend.  We didn’t want to get up early, not for hiking, breakfast, work or anything else.  We all got up around 8:30am this morning, instead of our usual 3:30am-5am for almost every day in the past several months.

Jean made breakfast for everyone and then we all headed over to the Borders bookstore in Montclair to hear about the Peace Corps.  I’ve been interested in the Peace Corps for about 6-8 years now, but never bothered doing anything more than checking out their website a few times.  They were putting on an hour and a half recruitment presentation less than 20 minutes from our place, so I figured it would be interesting to hear…  I was surprised that about 20 people showed up for it, with maybe 4 people (including myself) 30 years old or under, and there were probably 10 people over 60.

The girl that put on the presentation is a recruiter for the LA area, and she spent her two year commitment on the island of Kiribati (pronounced “Kirabus”) from 2005-2007.  She showed a little video and then talked about the program in general.  After the presentation Jean told me she wishes she was younger because she’d like to do it, but since she’s not and we want kids, our service with the Peace Corps will probably have to wait until Jean is closer to 60.  I don’t think my dad cared too much about the presentation because he was reading a book for most of it.  I was probably most impressed by a white-haired lady who was probably 65-70 years old in the front row who said she’s always wanted to join and the time was finally right.  I was also surprised at how selective they are for their volunteers, or at least that’s what the recruiter said, but then again if they’re so selective, why are they recruiting at bookstores in Montclair?

After that we came home.  My dad headed over to the mall to get some shoes and about an hour later Jean and I went to see a movie she’s been talking about, The House Bunny.  The theater was packed!  Jean enjoyed it, so I was happy.  Jean’s gone to work now, and I’m sitting here blogging while my dad watches the news.  I’m trying to talk him into going to another movie tonight, but he isn’t biting.

Tomorrow morning I’m planning on heading down into the OC to the Bowers Museum to see some of the famous Terra Cotta Warriors from Xi’an, China.  They are out of China for the first time ever and just happen to have made their way to Santa Ana.  Hopefully I’ll get to take a tour of my dad’s school too.  Other than that it’ll be another relaxing day.

Wonders never cease

Today I reached a major milestone in my battle with Delta, they caved in!  I got a call around 2:45pm this afternoon while I was at work and Suzy told me that they were now able to ticket my RTW award!  She said that I didn’t have to go to the airport because “the airports don’t have the staff or the ability to work around the problem, but we have a solution”.  I told her I didn’t care what they had to do or who had to do it, I was just relieved that they were finally going to honor the award after a week and a half of being in limbo and all but ignored by their “customer service”.

She took my payment information and the taxes/fees were actually about $25 less than they told me they’d be last week.  She said the payment would go through next Monday or Tuesday and they’d be issuing most of the tickets as e-tickets and they’d mail the other ones to me.  I’m sure it’ll be another battle to get the dates changed when that time comes, but I’m just happy that I’ve made some progress.  Hopefully they’ll actually ticket it on Monday and then hopefully they won’t hassle me too much when I try to pay the $100 change ticket fee in April to move the dates forward, but I’m guessing they’ll say I owe multiple $100 fees since they’re having to do all sorts of strange stuff just to print out my tickets now (I’ve already confirmed with 4 different Delta representatives that I should only pay $100, but we’ll see).

Tonight I think Jean and I will be heading over to Target to return a DVD and pick up a few more.  We’ll probably just have a quiet evening at home, relaxing.  Jean has to work tomorrow, so no telling what dad and I will get into.

Tied, but we’re outta here

Tonight Jean and I met my dad in Anaheim at Angel Stadium to watch the Angels play the Minnesota Twins.  Amazingly we all got to the will call area in front of the stadium within about 10 minutes of each other.  The game started at 7:05pm and by the time we climbed all the way to the top of the stadium to our seats, it was already the top of the 3rd inning.  We were in the second row from the top of the whole place, along the first base line.

There were no homers while we were there, but it was still fun.  They were tied up at 1 to 1 when we left in the bottom of the ninth, but the Twins ended up winning after 12 innings.  The Angels are still 15 games ahead of the next team (Texas) in the AL West, so they’re looking good as they get closer to the playoffs.  Jean loved the churros and when she got to sing “Take me out to the ballgame” in the 7th inning stretch, I loved that it was like 70F and 0% humidity, and my dad seemed like he enjoyed himself too, plus we all got free Angels hats on the way into the game and they actually fit my dad and I’s huge heads.

By leaving in the ninth we beat most of the traffic and actually saw the fireworks going off at Disneyland, just down the road, as we were walking out of the stadium.  I’m posting a few pictures from tonight below…

I know most people are probably getting tired of this saga with Delta, but today they actually said something different, not anything good – just different.  The guy actually pulled the old “don’t call us, we’ll call you” instead of their standard “just try back tomorrow”.  I guess the notes on my account are so long from all my calls in over the past week and a half that they think it’ll be easier to not have to tell me they’re incompetent each and every single day.  I’m still going to call tomorrow…

We don’t really have many plans for the weekend other than to relax.  Maybe we’ll go see a movie, or head over to the bookstore to go to a program about the Peace Corp, or maybe we’ll go to the Huntington Library.


Delta deserves bankruptcy

Another day, another snub by my friends over at Delta.  I called this afternoon and once again, “call back tomorrow because the problem still isn’t fixed”.  If I were trying to buy a ticket instead of using my earned miles to get a “free” ticket (after $600 to transfer miles and $525 in taxes/fees), I’m betting they wouldn’t have me waiting for more than a week to get my ticket.

The closer it gets to September 1st the more I’m thinking that they’re simply lying until the Skymiles program changes and they can just say “you’re screwed” instead of “sorry, please call back tomorrow”.  Also, as another slap in the face, Delta responded to my email…  I had been told by the all powerful supervisor, Miss Lulu, that the only complaint pathway other than through her was via email on the main Delta website, so I sent a long one complaining about my situation just the other day.  Without posting my entire email, here’s the important part:

I asked to speak to a supervisor because I have continually been told that it has been reported and to try back later for several days now, and I’m ready to know when Delta will resolve this issue instead of trying every day.  She told me that she’s a supervisor and “the end of the line”.  I find it hard to believe that the final answer is “we’ve done all we can do, so keep trying back indefinitely until someone out there in Atlanta fixes this problem”…  All I’m looking for is a date when this will be resolved instead of always being told to try back later.  As a loyal Delta customer for years, I am extremely dissatisfied with the customer service I’ve received thus far on this issue, other than by L___ C___, who has been helpful.

Please let me know when this issue can be resolved.

My itinerary number for this award is: #xxxxxx, and I am concerned I will lose my flights if this isn’t moved past the crossing our fingers and hoping somebody fixes it stage.

And here is the response from Delta’s “support” (I use this term loosely):

Thank you for your e-mail describing your recent experience with Delta. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your taking the time to share the details.

I spoke with the Around the World desk, and unfortunately the problem has not been resolved.  Your itinerary is still being held and you have been advised to call again on Monday, August 25, 2008 for an update and hopefully a resolve.

Again, thank you for writing. We appreciate your selection of Delta and will always welcome the opportunity to be of service. 

Sincerely,

Elayne Grayce
Online Customer Support Desk

This is ridiculous!  Well, “hopefully” Delta will pull their heads out of the mud and figure this out.  Here’s my response to Elayne:

You provided absolutely no help, but instead told me to wait 5 days to try back instead of 1…
 
If I were purchasing a ticket from Delta instead of trying to use my miles for a “free ticket” for which I’ve already spent over $600 for transferring/purchasing miles and will spend another $500+ for taxes/fees, would the system be in this state of limbo for almost 2 weeks?
 
What I’m looking for is a date when this will be resolved, not a date to try back and see if things are ok.  Delta is a major airline and when dealing with customer ticketing, the words “hopefully a resolve” should never be used.  This finger-crossing and “hoping” seems like something that would be necessary if third graders were running the business instead of a major corporation…

Delta is causing my blood pressure to rise.  In a similar topic, I had a crazy dream last night.  I dreamed that something crazy happened and I had to run.  Not run like sprint, but run like Jason Bourne.  I was running from the “Feds” – the US Federal Government.  In my dream I dropped the my car off at home and told Jean that I had to leave immediately and didn’t have time to explain, and needed her to go get as much cash out of our savings account as possible and I ran down to the airport and rented a car while she was gone.  I threw some supplies into the rental, gave Jean a big hug and took off.  I think I was heading to Mexico, but basically that the last thing I remember before waking up.  While I was walking with Jim this morning I asked what he’d do if he had to run and he couldn’t really come up with a concrete plan other than “I know I wouldn’t serve any time in a pen because I’d die.”

Well, I looked it up on this wonderful invention called The Internet, thank you Al Gore, and I’ve found a list of places they recommend for escaping the Feds!  You should check this page out because it gives the reasons why, but the places in order from #10 down to #1 are: France, Switzerland, India, China, Andorra, Argentina, Taiwan, Madagascar, Iran and Cuba.  If you had to leave immediately and couldn’t plan it, I’m guessing that only Argentina and Cuba would be options because you could theorhetically reach them by overland travel.  Here’s the link, enjoy!

Found an old friend

I’ve been searching for friends on the Ensley High and Stillman College web sites lately.  It is so addictive because I’m able to find people I haven’t heard from in years and I enjoy seeing what they’re doing and what their familes look like.

Today I spoke to my best friend from high school.  We have not spoken to each other in over 16 years.  Her name is Vicki Johnson-Mighty.  She’s living in Mobile, Alabama with her 2 daughters and her husband.  The oldest one is going to be a freshman in high school and looks just like Vicki.  We talked for about an hour and it felt good reminiscing about the old times.   We are going to have to get together soon because it has been too long.

Jean

The pain continues

I don’t know how Delta has managed to stay in business…  They continue to demonstrate their pathetic attempt at customer service.  I was told last Wednesday that it would take 24 hours for them to calculate the taxes, and then after they got the taxes together on Thursday I headed down to the airport where I waited for an hour and paid to park only to be told they had “some glitch” with their system and I’d have to try again Friday.  On Friday I called Delta and was told to go to the airport to see if they could ticket my trip, but after refusing I was told that the glitch is still there and that I’d need to call back on Monday.

Today was Monday and when I called Delta this afternoon they told me that this glitch is still there and they’ve notified “Atlanta” and that’s all they can do, so I need to call back tomorrow.  I was irate.  The lady told me that she was a supervisor and “the end of the line”, and after I hung up I decided not to accept the let’s cross our fingers and hope someone fixes it tomorrow approach, so I called a corporate phone number to complain.  The moron on the phone assured me that she’d be able to fix the situation, and after being on hold for over 15 minutes she actually thought she was being helpful by saying, “they are working on this problem, so please call us back tomorrow”.  When I told her that she hadn’t done squat for me because that’s what everyone at Delta has been saying for a week, she actually said, “well, try calling back in three days then”.  I couldn’t believe it!  How can one of the top US airlines have such pathetic customer service?  I’ve had problems with almost every airline I’ve flown, particularly United, but I’ve always chalked it up to dealing with a jerk or idiot here or there when you come in contact with 50+ of their employees during a trip.  This stuff with Delta is more like an institutional problem because everyone I’ve dealt with (Candy, Miss Lulu, Miss September, etc) have all been terrible except for Lisa Cruz.

Looking at what I’m typing, maybe I’ve been dialing the number to a dressing room at a cheap strip bar – Candy? Miss September?  What in the world is going on over at Delta?

Well, hopefully the one guy in Atlanta that can fix this “glitch” will get off his ass and do something because it is quite obvious that nobody that you can reach on any of their phone lines or at a desk in the Ontario International Airport is of any help.  Why can’t Southwest start flying overseas?  If you fly Delta often, I urge you to move to another airline – maybe Continental or US Airways.  Regardless of what people in these service positions seem to think these days, the customer is still the most powerful part of the equation because we can buy what they’re selling from someone else any time we want and that effects their bottom line…

Hiking in the Angeles National Forest

After relaxing for a while yesterday, Jean and I decided to go see a movie, so we headed down the road to see Tropic Thunder.  I laughed out loud more than once, but it was definitely sophmoric humor that won’t appeal to the masses.  Jean said it was “OK”.  I like most of Ben Stiller’s movies and Jack Black is usually good for a laugh, but I was really surprised that two even bigger stars who had pretty good sized roles in the movie weren’t even mentioned in the trailers: Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise.  Tom Cruise was really funny and McConaughey played with a Wii in about 5 scenes.

Anyhow, last night was uneventful because I stayed up making changes to the website while the Olympics were on tv, Jean went to work and my dad burrowed in upstairs for several hours.  I finally decided to hit the sack around 10pm because I couldn’t stay up any longer to wait for NBC to show Phelps win his 8th gold medal.  Besides hiking over 4 miles in the morning, I decided to fast all day yesterday, so I went without food for over 42 hours this weekend.

This morning I was up around 5:30am.  After showering I woke my dad up so we could go hiking…  Jean decided again that she’d rather stay at home “to get some things done around the house”.  Jumping forward, Jean managed to get in several more hours of sleep and to load the dishwasher, so I’m not so sure it was worthwhile for her to skip the hike, but if she’s happy then so am I.  Happy wife, happy life.

My dad and I headed down the 210 to Arcadia, where we got off the freeway and headed north into the mountains and the Angeles National Forest.  Yesterday I took the precautionary step of having a new National Parks Pass purchased by Jean at REI since our last once expired in July, and you need either this pass ($80 for a year and entry into all National Parks, National Forests, etc) or an Adventure Pass ($30 for a year or like $5 for a day pass).  If you’re caught parking in a National Forest without a pass you supposedly get a fine, but I’ve done it several times without any notices or tickets.

Once we got to a place called Chantry Flats we parked and headed out to the trailhead for the the Winter Creek Loop.  My dad stopped at the billboard while I ran back to the car to put that damned $80 parking pass up in the window, and when I got back he pointed out the mountain lion warning sign.  He’s been worried about mountain lions for over a month and here was some validation to his fear.  I was covered though because the sign clearly said, “Pick children up so you appear to be one, large person.”  If we were to see a mountain lion (aka cougar, puma, panther, etc), my dad was supposed to pick me, his child, up and hoist me above his head.  I think I’d be pretty safe up there – phew!

Anyhow, we started up the trail going counter-clockwise instead of the clockwise direction that localhikes.com talks about, but it didn’t really matter because it wasn’t easy in either direction.  I know they say it is a 5 mile loop and of “moderate” difficulty, but I think it was closer to 6-7 miles.  My dad would say it was much harder than “moderate”, but we did cross paths with probably 30-40 Asians in their 50’s and 60’s and a whole bunch of chubby Mexican women at the end of the hike.

The scenery was exceptional, especially once we climbed 1000 or so feet and could see out towards Arcadia and Pasadena.  The mountains were covered in thick forest and there were all sorts of birds making noise.  The temperature was great for the first two hours, in a range from 65F to 75F, and only got hot on our final slog up a massive paved road.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…



Hiking in Chino Hills SP

I woke up around 6:30am this morning and tried to pry Jean out of bed, and eventually she got up, but she also decided she didn’t want to join us for our hike. My dad was more agreeable, and he got pretty quickly. We were out the door by 7:20am and on our way to Chino Hills State Park, to hike the Diemer Trail loop (also reviewed here).

We got to the park around 7:45am and there were already a bunch of cars parked along the street.  This place is kinda strange because the entrance to this trailhead is in the middle of a residential area.  We walked between houses to the trailhead and then started up a steep incline.  You walk along the “Southridge” trail that runs over a series of mountain ridges with views on one side down into Yorba Linda and Orange County, and down into Telegraph Canyon within Chino Hills State Park on the other.

After about a mile and a half you take a fork to the right down a quasi-switchback along the Diemer trail, down to Telegraph trail, where you take a right.  On the high road we passed by about 4-5 other walkers/hikers, but once we got to the low road (Telegraph), we were passed by about 30 mountain bikers and about 30-40 runners (mostly high school cross-country teams).  We walked along the Telegraph trail for about 2 miles until we got to the Easy Street trail, where you poke down through some brush and cross a small dry creekbed and then head up a steep narrow pathway back to the beginning of the loop.

I thought it was a pretty refreshing hike – not too strenuous, but plenty enough to feel like you got the blood flowing.  It took us about an hour and thirty five minutes to do the 4.2 mile hike.

I’m sitting here watching The Firm on tv with Jean while my dad naps on the other couch.  I don’t know what else we’ll be doing for the rest of the day except that Jean is going to work tonight.  We’ll see…



Cannonball!

I have now jumped off that cliff that I was looking over just yesterday.  I can understand why those idiots at American Express represent Delta – they’re both equally incompetent…  I thought that today I would either get royally screwed if Delta told me I couldn’t get the RTW award because they’d changed their policies, or that I’d be sitting here tonight with a big stack of plane tickets.  Neither one happened.  Instead, Delta continued to demonstrate why they haven’t been able to turn a profit in the past decade, because their customer service sucks.  Terrible customer service seems like their business model: “Make Travelling With Us As Difficult And Annoying As Possible!”.

When I left the airport yesterday, the last instructions I was given was that I needed to call back today during normal business hours, 7am to 5pm Eastern Standard Time, and they’d let me know if the “glitch” that kept them from issuing my tickets had been resolved.  Well, I called at 4am PST (7am EST) this morning and got a recording that said “Please call back during normal business hours, 8am through …”.  I hung up pissed off.  I called back at 5:05am PST and the lady told me that she couldn’t figure out if they’re still having problems or not and that I’ll need to go to the airport to find out.  I told her there was no way I was going back to the airport for an hour to wait while they figured out if they could do it or not, plus have to pay for parking.  She put me on hold for a few minutes and came back and said it she thought they were still having the same error and I’d have to call back MONDAY!  I kinda lost it, and her only explanation was “I’m the only one here right now, sir”.  Oh, ok, I’ll try back next week after a week of trying to get this ticket, and hopefully you guys will be just as helpful then as you’ve been all week!

I am still ticketless.  I have no other option but to wait until Monday to see if they’ve figured out this error that nobody can explain but that’s keeping them from ticketing my trip.

In the mean time I’m going to go hiking tomorrow morning and then again on Sunday.  Jean has to work all weekend, but hopefully we’ll have enough time after the hikes to do something else fun, like go see a movie or hit up a casino for a couple of hours.

Patiently waiting for Delta to get something right,

Matt