Thursday, May 29, 2008

And after she packed, when she looked back, there were no tears in her eyes, and that’s got me worried thinking maybe my baby’s gotten good at goodbye

I have a confession to make. I’m an over-packer. I have been all my life. I remember when I was little and one of my sisters gave me her old, beat-up school backpack to play with, and I used it to pretend I was a (wait for it) backpacker. Even then, I had a hard time getting the backpack to close because I had packed so much stuff for me and my doll. Several years ago I was seriously making efforts to reform and vowed to become one of those people who never checked a bag. I bought a small rolling suitcase (easy for fitting in overhead bins) and managed to carry it on with everything I needed for a weekend trip to Dallas. I was so proud of myself. But that was just before the great airplane liquid restriction of 2006. I can do without a lot of clothes, but I need my liquids people!! It takes a lot of stuff to look this average! So I gave up my quest and went back to checking my bags and consequently, over packing. Lately though, I’ve been embarrassed by the amount of stuff I require for a weekend trip and sick of waiting in fear wondering if my luggage will emerge at the baggage . So I’m taking up the quest once again. I just ordered a ton of mini-storage containers from The Container Store to make it easier to fit all my liquids into the ever so tiny (to a product hag anyway) plastic quart bag. I’m trying to figure out as many powder and non-liquid substitutes for the numerous potions it takes to achieve my supreme average-ness. I, Haiku Hannah, over-packer extraordinaire, vow to pare down, de-liquefy and CARRY ON!! We can’t let the terrorists win!

--Haiku Hannah

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

FreeDUMB Awards

Et tu Southwest? Even our darling Southwest Airlines has gone to the dark side. Trying to book a quick trip to Los Angeles using Rapid Rewards Award and have been indoctrinated into the painful world of their new "Freedom Awards" and having to use TWO (that's 2 "A" coupons and 2 "B" coupons) awards for the trip because of new seat restrictions but, geez Wally, I can convert my 2 Rapid Rewards into 1 Freedom Award and I'm not subjected to the restrictions. Per Southwest, it's "a great new Award travel option for Rapid Rewards Members".

No, it's not. NO IT IS NOT!

I miss the good old days of $3 gas and simple Rapid Reward awards.

- Clear Plastic Sad Bag

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Austin, Texas: No. 1 + A Travel Warning

A "Top 10" list was recently released naming the top Memorial Day destinations. You can read the complete list on, but for those of you already loading up the iPod with Haiku Hannah's song recommendations and heading to the list's #1 destination, Austin, Texas, be aware of the following:

Austin, Texas is a Stinking Hellhole of Sin (and Putrification)

I live here and those intellectuals and their spirit (and canvas bags) will slow down the line at the grocery store.

- Clear Plastic Bag

The living is easy

Memorial Day is fast approaching, and it has always signaled the start of summer to me. I’m all giddy at the prospect. Even though I’m many, many years out of school and working for the man, it’s just not as painful in the summer. In honor of the rapidly approaching good times, here is a playlist to get us all excited and in the summer mood!!

School’s Out – Alice Cooper (School’s out FOREVER!!)
Summertime – Josh Rouse
Holiday – Madonna (It’s time for the good times, forget about the bad times)
The Sea - Morcheeba
Summer Love / Set the Mood (Prelude) – Justin Timberlake
The Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra
Gimme Some Loving – The Spencer Davis Group (No it’s not about summer, but I always thought they were saying “Gimme summer loving” growing up so it’s in.)
Magic - The Cars
Summer Madness – Kool & the Gang
Beyond the Sea – Bobby Darin
Cruel Summer - Bananarama
Theme from A Summer Place – Percy Faith
Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful
Summer Breeze – Seals and Croft (makes me feel fine)
Ocean City Girl - Ivy
Surfing U.S.A. – Beach Boys (Tell the teacher we’re surfing)
Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
So Nice (Summer Samba) – Bebel Gilberto
Summer Sun – Koop
Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & The Family Stone (and everything, it’s cool, ooh yeah)

Have a great Memorial Day!!

-- Haiku Hannah

Friday, May 16, 2008

SPF (Sun Protection Freak)

Pale and freckled, I do my best to avoid the sun but the reality of living in Texas is that the sun is gonna getcha, girl. I never leave the house without sunblock. The one time I did, I panicked and pulled a bag over my head and shortly thereafter a new neighbor came by to introduce himself and I'm standing there with a canvas grocery bag (I'm "green"!) on my head (the purple handles did create a stylish flair, though). I've tried a variety of products, but Neutrogena just came out with my current go-to SPF, their Age Shield Face Sunblock SPF 70. I've been using it for about two weeks and while July and August will be the true test, I have sweated and, so far, it hasn't done the usual burning lava run into the eyes. I read one review where the woman said she quit using it because it left some white streaks and she had to check the mirror after she put it on to make sure she had rubbed all those in. Oh the humanity! Not that! I've had several skin cancers removed (most courtesy of a spectacular chest burn received at a Red Hot Chili Peppers outdoor concert) and a little white SPF white streak should not be a deterrent. You should put any SPF on at least 15-20 minutes before going outside and give it a chance to soak in a bit. Check the mirror then. The Age Shield can give you a bit of a mildly kabuki appearance initially but once it's had a chance to mellow for about 15 minutes, either it goes away or, pehaps, I've ceased to care. All in all highly recommended. If you're on your way to a fabulous beach vacation or just out mowing your yard (c'est moi!), I highly recommend the Neutrogena Age Shield Sunblock.

- Clear Plastic Bag

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hey soft bones I'm just carrying on an old family tradition

The Billy Carter Service Station Museum is now open in Plains, Georgia. The museum is in the renovated service station where Billy loved to entertain the media during his brother's time as President. Jimmy first proposed the idea for the museum and made a donation of $50,000 to kick off the project. While I don't personally care for that attention-seeking-Hamas-loving-international-buttinsky Jimmy, I always thought Billy seemed like a fun guy (who can forget Billy Beer). So the next time I'm in the vicinity of Plains, I'll be sure to check the new museum out. You should too.

-- Haiku Hannah

Monday, May 12, 2008

Just eat it

USA Today had an interesting article recently on the veritable tossed salad of rules created by the Department of Agriculture and enforced by Customs and Border Protection that regulate what foodstuffs you can and cannot bring into the U.S. For example you can bring in fungus routed by pigs in France, but you cannot bring in canned corned beef from Ireland. You can bring in kangaroo jerky from Australia, but not chorizo from Spain. Parmesan? Yes. Brie? No. Cheddar? Yes. Ricotta? No. Read the entire article here, but before doing so enjoy Tina Fey's sandwich or love dilemma at an airport security gate:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Come fly with me

I had to change planes at Chicago's Midway Airport last Friday night. Was I ever pleasantly surprised. Apparently they have made major renovations, and it might be my favorite airport now.

1. I had to go from concourse A to concourse B which we all know can be dicey when you don't have a ton of time between flights. Well, Midway has more of those moving sidewalk thingies (yes, that is a technical airline term) than any airport I've ever been in. If only they could renovate the idiot masses who can't quite follow the instructions that if you are standing on the moving sidewalk you should stay TO THE EFFING RIGHT so the walkers can pass ON THE EFFING LEFT. Despite the idiots in my way, I made it from one concourse to the other in no time and had great people watching along the way.

2. The ladies rooms were pretty fabulous as airport restrooms go (which admittedly isn't a very high standard of comparison). There were walls and doors in the stalls that went almost all the way to the floor (probably a reaction to Tappin' Larry Craig) and plenty of hooks to hang all your bags on.

3. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to choose from along your moving sidewalk way. I'm always unpleasantly surprised by the sad selection at some major airports.

4. At the gate area there are counters with seating and electrical outlets set up for recharging your electronics and surfing the internet. There was also plenty of regular seating at the gates even with a busy Friday night crowd.

All in all, I'd have to give Midway two big Hannah thumbs up.

-- Haiku Hannah

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Who Needs A Tetanus Shot?

High Flying Birds about to go off on fascinating adventures, that’s who! And you may need a Hepatitis, yellow fever or Japanese encephalitis vaccine, as well!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an astonishing amount of information on the Traveler’s Health section of its website: You can go there and click on your destination and see immediately what medications and vaccinations you may need to get before packing your knapsack and grabbing your flight. If you are going to Italy or most any other European country, the CDC recommends that you make sure all of your routine vaccinations are up to date, such as measles/mumps/rubella, diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (whooping cough) and polio, and also suggests the Hepatitis B vaccine if you plan to sleep with the local population. (The CDC actually recommends Hepatitis B for anyone not in a long-term relationship. Who knew?) For the more adventurous traveler off to places such as Belize or Brazil, you might want to get the Hepatitis A to go along with the B, regardless of how you plan to spend your evenings, as those countries have intermediate to high levels of endemic Hepatitis B virus transmission. Typhoid and yellow fever vaccines should also be on the list, depending on exactly what adventure you are planning. And before you fly off to assist the cyclone victims in Myanmar, throw in a Japanese encephalitis shot, as well! The site also contains Travel Notices and other safety and security information for your destinations, as well as myriad tips on what over-the-counter health aids you should pack.

Once you have decided that you need some vaccinations, where to go? Why, your state or county health department, that’s where! The CDC also provides a handy link to those: My recent experience with the Dallas County Health Department was remarkably quick and easy. The nurses were knowledgeable about the required vaccines and seemed genuinely interested in my upcoming vacation. One even told me she had the best job in the city, because she got to all over the world through the people who came to the clinic!

Even if you are not traveling anywhere exotic, it’s probably a good idea for all High Flying Birds to remember to keep up with routine vaccinations. You don’t want to ruin your trip to New York or Vegas or even Oklahoma City because the guy across the aisle from you has whooping cough...

-- The Commish