Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Valley of Fire...

Next time your in Vegas, put down your drink (or not, alcohol is allowed in the park) and your chips (or not, there is a casino/gas station/fireworks stand along the way) and rent a car to head out to Valley of Fire State Park. It's about an hour from Las Vegas and is absolutely amazing. We hiked and climbed around the lovely red rocks when we visited a couple of weeks ago.


Mouse's Tank


Elephant Rock

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dear American Airlines,

American Airlines Customer Relations
P.O. Box 619612 MD 2400
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612

To Whom It May Concern:

My husband and I have been traveling with American Airlines (AA) for many years now. We have been quite loyal to AA and typically enjoy flying with your company. Recently, we took an American Airlines flight to Las Vegas to celebrate a milestone birthday. We then had our most unpleasant experience when we flew on Flight [X] between Baltimore BWI and New York JFK.

When we arrived at the gate in BWI, we learned that our flight would be delayed due to high winds in New York. We were concerned about missing our connection at JFK but knew that despite there being other flights to Las Vegas out of BWI, there was no way to get on one of them without an additional cost to us. After some time, the crew finally boarded us and eventually the plane taxied and parked on a remote corner of the tarmac. After a fuzzy message over the intercom, I walked over to the flight attendant to ask what was happening. Like I, she must have missed the incomprehensible announcement as well, because she was of no help—a fellow passenger who had managed to make out the announcement was able to tell me that we would be sitting there indefinitely. The impolite flight attendant told me to sit and wait and that I was not the only one worried about a connection.

About a half hour later, the Captain came on the intercom and said we would be departing as soon as possible; at which point the flight attendant began shouting at people to hurry up; buckle their seat belts and turn off their cell phones we were going to leave. There was a rush and slight panic on board as people tried to get themselves ready. Not two minutes later the Captain was back on the PA saying that we would not be leaving and that we could be sitting on board for about 3 hours. Meanwhile, my husband and I were trying to figure out what we were going to do. He called AA customer service but we could not get on another flight since we were trapped on this plane for hours. We had a hotel room paid for in Las Vegas for that night and it was beginning to look like we would not make it.

After waiting, trapped inside the plane for over 2 hours, we finally took off and made it to New York. Upon landing, we had to wait longer as there was no one to pull the jet-bridge up to the aircraft door. As we deplaned, we learned that our connection had already taken off. There was no announcement made about connections, or what passengers who missed their next flights should do; we were basically dumped in the JFK airport and left to fend for ourselves. This type of service is unacceptable. Why was there no gate agent there to help us? Why were we not automatically booked on the next flight out? My husband immediately called AA’s 800 number and I went to speak to an agent. The woman I found at a desk was unhelpful and rude and suggested we go speak to someone at the ticket counter. My husband was on the phone with an agent for over 20 minutes, which did nothing to further our trip. Therefore, we had to go to the front ticket counter where we waited almost an hour to speak with someone.

Needless to say, I was quite frustrated. While I understand that strong winds are not AA’s fault and that safety was a priority, this situation could have been handled much more effectively. There should have been an agent waiting for displaced passengers. The agents should have also better understood our frustrations and been more accommodating. We should have automatically been rebooked and reimbursed rather than feeling completely neglected by your company. I am extremely disappointed with the decline in American Airlines customer service.

We had planned to be in Las Vegas that night to begin celebrating my birthday but instead, we were waiting and waiting for AA to help us. The bright spot of the situation was [one AA Agent], working the counter at JFK. She was the first AA representative we had interacted with that seemed concerned. She helped us get on a later flight to Los Angeles, where we had to spend the night and depart the next day to Las Vegas. However, at this point we were not only out the money for our hotel in Las Vegas and a rental car, our vacation was cut a day short.

I have enclosed copies of the receipts for the expenses we incurred that were not our fault. I would like to be compensated $XXX, the cost of our hotel room in Las Vegas, as we did not arrive in Las Vegas on the night we were supposed to. We also had a rental car reservation that we had to rebook. We then had to take the only rental car available, which had not been cleaned and was at a higher cost than the one I originally booked. You will find our receipts attached for costs incurred or lost in this situation. In total, I expect to be refunded $XXX (USD).

As a frequent AA flier, I expect a much higher level of service from your company, and I am quite disappointed. Not only did I lose money on a hotel and rental car, but also my birthday vacation was cut short—through no fault of my own. On top of all of it, American Airlines’ representatives were primarily rude and uncaring. Before I book a flight on your airline again, I would like reassurance that you are addressing the service problem on your flights. I will be informing my friends and family about this experience.

I look forward to your response.
P.S. Perhaps they should read this book:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Zebra + Seahorse = Seabra

(I made this hybrid animal
for my Digital Media class using Photoshop).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Too Many...

From last night's rockin' Flight of the Conchords show at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Hello, 30!

Back in February 2008, I found the site, and wrote myself an email that would be delivered on my 30th birthday...this is it (in all of it's cheesy cliche goodness!):

"The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on Tuesday, February 12, 2008, and sent via
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear FutureMe,
Happy Birthday! You are 30. You made it.
Please remember:
take it light,
anything essential is invisible to the eyes.
you're an artist.
work like you don't need the money
love like you've never been hurt
dance like no body is watching.
you are light; you are stardust

i love you
--28 year old you."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

30 Things:

I turn 30 tomorrow, so today I thought I would share 30 random things about myself:

1. I do not feel my age—I know I’m not “old” but I still feel about 22, yeah!

2. Driving into the city (Chicago) with my Mom when I was about 4 years old, my Mom pointed to something in the distance and said, “There’s the Sears Tower.” I sat up in the backseat and looked out the window. Being that I was pretty young, I was still working on/learning spatial awareness. I didn’t realize she was pointing to something along the skyline that was still fairly far away; I looked out and saw a nearby smoke stack. I believed that that smoke stack was the Sears Tower until probably 2 years later when I went on a fieldtrip to the Sears Tower. (And even before that trip I kept thinking, “How are we all going to fit in there?”)

3. I really believe there is magic in the Universe. Not the “pull a rabbit out of a hat” kind of magic but in synchronicity, coincidences, déjà vu, luck, the law of attraction, etc.

4. I think that WTMD, 89.7, really is “radio for music people. It’s the best radio station ever. (Think college radio + NPR). If you live around here, you NEED to be listening to it. And, if you don’t, you need to stream it on their website: It just may change your life. (Feel free to insert your own “Garden State” reference here).

5. My favorite color is pink.

6. Speaking of colors, my hair has been just about every color in some way or another except for black. It’s been blond the longest.

7. I got my first tattoo when I was in high school and tried to hide it from my parents. That only worked for a few months.

8. I wasn’t planning to get my tongue pierced. I just happened to be in a tattoo shop with my husband (we were dating at the time) and some girl was there getting hers done. I started talking to her and was like “I always wanted to do that…” and one of her friends said, “Why don’t you?” That was in 1998 and I still have it.

9. I have traveled to (or lived on) every Continent except Antarctica—and that trip is in the works.

10. I know how lucky I am that I was able to live in Hawaii as long as I did, but almost every day I daydream about moving back. (That plan is in the works as well, or at least moving back abroad).

11. A few years ago, both my husband and I secretly bought each other “The Clapper” as a funny Christmas gift. Opening them was surprising and hilarious, and we totally used one of them (until it broke).

12. I have the most wonderful friends and family. I love them and am grateful to have them.

13. My life is really wonderful, not perfect, but happy and lovely. I’m thankful for this too.

14. The adjectives I use the most are: awesome, super, and fantastic. I get strange looks sometimes when I tell someone, say, at the gas station, “Thanks, that’s super!” or when I say to a bartender, “fantastic!” if they have one of my favorite beers. I also use the word cool a lot, but usually in a sarcastic way. “That was so cool….”

15. When I was about 15 or 16, I was backstage at a show when Bon Jovi told me that I had a nice smile. I replied to this by rolling my eyes and turning around. I wasn’t much of a fan so I didn’t know who he was and just thought he was some creepy old man trying to hit on me.

16. I seriously love the woman that does my eyebrows. She is amazing and gives the best aromatherapy temple massages. I wish everyone I know could get their eyebrows done with her.

17. I don't eat meat. I'm happy I'm not a living grave. I get annoyed when a million people ask me why I'm a vegetarian. I should also add, “Yes, I get enough protein!” and “No, I wasn’t born a vegetarian but have been one for more than half my life!” (And, that if you killed and prepared what you are eating with your own hands, well, that’s another story).

18. I love to read; specifically, books that will make a difference in my life. The most recent (by recent I mean in the last few years) books to change my life (and the ones that have and will always sit on my nightstand): “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, “The Mission of Art” by Alex Grey, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, “In Search of the World: A Traveler’s Almanac” a CWC book, “Skinny Legs and All” by Tom Robbins, “The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerouac, “No Boundary” by Ken Wilber….wait, I need to stop, I’m not writing a book of book titles.

19. I went to the first two Bonnaroo fests…now I think it has gotten too big (and Phish playing there this year?!? Jeez. Don’t get me started).

20. I’m celebrating my 30th birthday in Vegas (in April) with my friends…!!!

21. I hardly use the degree I have…which is why I’m getting another one.

22. I make things. I adorn things. I love being in Art School. I am so thankful that I am able to follow this dream and feel so special that so many people support me in doing so!

23. I subscribe to a ridiculous amount of travel magazines (most of which were gifts). I get Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, and BudgetTravel. And, because that’s not enough, I occasionally buy National Geographic Adventure.

24. I love to recycle—all kinds of stuff from clothing to tin cans!

25. Growing up we had two super nice (goofy even) Doberman Pincher dogs.

26. I don’t really like getting my haircut. I used to love going to the salon, but now I find it’s just annoying. While it’s nice to have someone else wash your hair and all, I can only force myself to get my haircut about twice a year!

27. I don’t like to be cold. (Funny, too, since I grew up in Chicago). I would take sauna like temperatures over anything below 40 degrees any day. Give me warmth and I’ll be ok.

28. I made a list of things to do before I turn 30, and have actually done quite a few, (but, not all) of them.

29. I tend to forget movies right after I see them. (Unless they really move me). I don’t watch heaps of movies, and don’t often watch a movie more than once but even some of my favorite recent movies like “Garden State” and” The Royal Tenenbaums,” which I have actually seen multiple times, I don’t remember many lines or scenes. I think my brain just isn’t hardwired that way.

30. I did a list like this a few months ago. I tried to keep this list different; you can read it here.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Viva, Las Vegas!

We are leaving today for Las Vegas...we're going to celebrate my 30th (*gasp*) birthday. I'm exited to see my sister (we're meeting her there) and to hike in the desert, check out the Neon Boneyard, and maybe even win a little something! Well, I'm headed West...

(This also means that any orders place in the PinkBird Shop will not be shipped until about April 10th!)