Archive for February, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer

I apologize in advance for the length, but not really. I vblog like I write it’s either 2,000 words or nothing at all.

[Cross-posted at Killing Batteries]

Vblogging | 19.02.2008 1:36 | 10 Comments

Coat Check/Rental at MSP

parka.jpgHere’s a proposal for all the entrepreneurs out there looking to try a wacky new venture, who can come to the table with my non-refundable $2,000 finder’s fee and my usual case of Strongbow rider.

I’m in the process of arranging my third trip this winter from Minnesota (“The Land of 1,000,000 Retreating Testicles”) to a warm locale. In addition to the hourly seething jealousy calls I’m receiving from friends and colleagues, I’m once again put in the position of trying to coordinate how I’ll get to the airport on public transport without freezing to death, but then not having to fly all the way to Guam with a double-wide parka and having to drag it around in 90 degree heat for two weeks like a hobo.

It’s occurred to me that I must be the 857,274th person to face this conundrum since November. And what does a wide-spread conundrum mean? A cash cow for some opportunistic genius, that’s what.

Someone needs to open a coat check business at MSP. It’d be so simple and wildly popular. You set up a seasonal booth in the departures hall where people can drop off their coats as soon as they step in from the cold. At the end of the day the coat check person would haul all the coats down to a storage room by baggage claim, which would also conveniently serve as the coat pick-up point for people when they return from their trips. If you charge something like $2 a day for storage and take in as little as 100 coats each day, you’re in the black.

Additional revenue streams could be created by offering long term storage for people (I think the lockers at MSP have a 48 hour max time limit) and running a coat/hat/gloves/boots rental service for those unlucky people visiting us in February from places like Atlanta where if it gets below 40 degrees weather emergencies are declared, Blues Brothers-caliber 90-car pile-ups dot the highways and the National Guard is deployed to thwart looting at the Home Depot.

Buncha pasties.

Obviously, this venture would only be viable for about four months a year. So what would this genius entrepreneur do with his or her summer? I don’t know, how about watching syndicated TV and eating bonbons? They’ll be flush with funds from their genius venture, after all. Or maybe they could run a Dairy Queen. Whatever.

So am I a genius or what? Or has someone already tried this and gone bankrupt after six weeks? Eh, I’m a genius anyway.

[Photo credit: Draconiansleet]

Genius Ideas | 11.02.2008 10:13 | 9 Comments

2007 US airline delay results Minneapolis not factored in?

lazyairlineemployee.jpgHi. I’m back in Minneapolis now. Did I miss anything? I heard the weather was awesome.

My flight home from SFO departed exactly 90 minutes late yesterday, like clockwork. I realize that a 90 minute delay isn’t even remotely as objectionable as say a 24 hour delay at JFK with no recourse, but still this is something like the 9th consecutive Northworst flight I’ve taken now that was late for totally avoidable, trivial reasons (a seat in economy needed a mechanic’s attention before we could take off).

So, it’s Super Tuesday today and voting doesn’t start for several hours, as such news outlets are filling space by scooping out the bottom of the 2007 Year-End Stats Barrel. This Yahoo clip reports that 2007 was the second worst year for airline delays since the birth of Christ. Well, duh. Kudos to the Transportation Department’s Division of Obvious Facts. But hold on, something doesn’t seem quite right.

They claim that in 2007 airlines were late “more than 26 percent of the time”. Does this seem a little off to anyone else? I fly a lot and unless I’ve forgotten how to calculate percentages (which is entirely possible dammit Jim, I’m a travel writer not a statistician), the cumulative domestic flights I took in 2007 left late about 78% of the time. Wait, is anything under a 90 minute late departure no longer considered “delayed”?

I wonder if these numbers are off because MSP was not included in the sampling process? Maybe they left us out because they thought our numbers would skew the overall results since were largely trapped into flying Northworst and Delta out of Minneapolis, a conglomeration of degenerates and pinheads that couldn’t get a plane off the ground on time if you waved a squillion dollar bill in front of their faces.

Is it just my infernal airport luck that’s tainting my personal numbers or does everyone else think this 26% stat is about 50 points shy of MSP’s numbers?

Rants | 5.02.2008 11:31 | 8 Comments